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Born: Apr 18, 1936
Date of Passing: Oct 27, 2019Offer Condolences or Memory Make a donation to CancerCare Manitoba Foundation
Bess was born on April 18, 1936 in Astoria, Queens, New York, the eldest of two siblings to Efharis and Harry Ternas who immigrated to the United States from Greece. A fun-loving, erudite, and spirited student, Bess attended Finch College where she earned a B.A. in Education, graduating in 1958. After graduation she taught pre-school age and elementary children before she met and married the love of her life, Dr. Nicholas Tavuchis, who she met previously in Astoria in 1956. Nick and Bess were married in 1960 as Nick settled into graduate and doctoral studies at Columbia University. During their time in New York, in between school and a lively social life, Nick and Bess produced their two sons, Alexander (1964) and Christopher (1966). Shortly after Christopher was born in 1966, Nick, Bess and the two boys moved to Ithaca, New York, where Nick took up a position in the Department of Sociology at Cornell University, and where Bess continued to raise the two boys and lovingly taught pre-school age children. While in Ithaca, Bess enjoyed a lively social life, travelling back to Astoria, learning to cook some of her trademark dishes and raising the two boys to appreciate the finer things in life - like friends and family. In 1975, Nick and Bess moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba where Nick joined the University of Manitoba. During her many years in Winnipeg, Bess was active with the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church where she indulged in deep and abiding spiritual side, established and ran a successful catering business, raised two boys to be men, and continued to earn the respect and admiration of countless friends.
A truly generous and maternal lady, Bess was a deeply devoted friend and was equally devoted to the children of her friends and her sons' friends - who she considered her extended family. A double cancer survivor, she was deeply proud of her heritage, and she was equally proud of a vigorous tolerance of all people. She loved and rejoiced in her family and friends, cooking, entertaining in high fashion, teaching, theatre, the opera, art, travel and shopping - which she excelled in with the same lively energy that she lived her life. She was happiest surrounded by her people and, for this and her many other qualities, her people will miss her dearly. Until the moment she passed, Bess remained fiercely proud of her two sons; she remained their biggest fans and her pride and joy.
Bess was predeceased by her husband of 54 years and her parents, Efharis and Harry Ternas. Bess is survived by her brother John Ternas of Queens, New York, her eldest son Alexander, his partner Laura, her younger son Christopher, his wife Shelagh, and her four beautiful grandchildren, Athena, Nicholas Maxwell, Thalia and Anthea.
A memorial service will be held on November 23 at 2:00 p.m. at the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 2255 Grant Ave., Winnipeg, MB. A reception will follow.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation, 675 McDermot Ave., Room ON1160, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3E 9Z9.
Publish Date: Nov 9, 2019
As per her wishes, a private family service has been held.
Publish Date: Nov 2, 2019 Make a donation to
As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Nov 02, 2019, Nov 09, 2019
Condolences & Memories (2 entries)
I will always remember your generosity, your humor, your excellent cooking and deserts my dear friend. - Posted by: Lefco Doche (Friend) on: Nov 09, 2019
Always remember Bess as very hard working, witty, loyal...I could go on and on. We worked together for many years for St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Ladies Philoptochos. She was always right in there with all of us ladies ready and willing to help. Only the best memories of you Bess. May God rest your soul. - Posted by: Pat Philopoulos (friend) on: Nov 09, 2019
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