CHAVEZ, Helen Chavez, Helen Pappas 89, August 2, 2014, passed away today sur- rounded by her loving family. She was preceded in death by her husband of 62 years George R. Chavez, her parents Nick and Mary Pappas, her son, Timothe M. Chavez and her sister, Katherine Karris. She is survived by her children Denise E. Chavez, Mary Chavez (Donald Scranton), Michele Chavez Harris and her daughter in law, Melinda Chavez. Her grandchildren, Nicholas C. Sexton, Porter Cusmano, Michael G. Sexton, Lydie Harris, Griffin Harris, Dierdre Knapp, Lavinia Criswell and great grandchildren Sam and Andrew Cusmano. Her brothers Ted Pappas of Chicago, Ill and Alex Pappas of Kansas City, Mo and numerous nieces and nephews. She was born and raised in Kansas City, Mo. Where she studied art at the Kansas City Art Institute, and met the love of her life, George, at a USO dance. They moved back to Tampa to raise their four children. She was a successful business woman, and a supporter and mentor for women in business. She owned a catering business and four restaurants, the best known being the Tea Room in Old Hyde Park and Chavez at the Royal. Her love of the arts led her to become involved with the Tampa Bay Art Center, as a member of the Guilders and worked with the volunteer organization to help with exhibits, raise money, with the goal to eventually build a new art museum, the Tampa Museum of Art. She was also very involved in the very beginning and throughout the years in the Gasparilla Sidewalk Art Festival. She was involved in the Easter Seals Guild, Red Cross Angels, Athena Society, the Chislers, the Sword of Hope, an active member of the Republican Party, where she was a delegate to two conventions and a member of Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club. Her love of community led her to politics. She was the first Republican women to be elected to City Council, where she served for eight years. She distinguished herself with her controversial stand on establishing a Family Section at the stadium, Historical Preservation with her campaign to retain brick streets, banning commercial tanker trucks from driving through the downtown Tampa and putting trash cans on Bayshore. She had a lust for life, loved meeting new people, hearing their stories and a heart that welcomed everyone. She will be missed by all that knew her. The family would like to thank her caregiver, Vee Marie Carroll for her kind and loving care for the last 5 years. There will be a visitation on Wednesday, August 6th from 5-7pm at Blount and Curry MacDill and a funeral service on Thursday, August 7th at 10am at Blount and Curry MacDill.
Published in TBO.com on Aug. 5, 2014