Mahalia Tavares

Obituary of Mahalia A. Tavares

Mahalia Tavares

Our Beautiful Rose

Sun Rose 1/11/1932

Sun Set 11/7/2023

Mahalia was born to wonderful and loving parents; James T. Williams and Lucy Rippteaux-Williams

Our mom attended Dunbar High School during a time where only colored students could attend. She later attended Tucson High School and graduated in 1950. One of her greatest accomplishments was re-enrolling in school and graduating from University of Arizona receiving Bachelor of Science degree May 15, 1976 achieving high honors and on the Dean’s list. Afterwards, she was hired at Amphitheater High School from August 9,1976 as teacher in the Business Education Department through February, 12,1989 when she took early retirement. Later, she became honorary member of Phi Kappa Delta August 6, 1980. She continued pursuing her education at U of A graduating with Master of Science in Education, September 9, 1980, as well as becoming a AKA sorority member in 1983, and received her pin in 1984.

She had many teaching accolades to her credit, including teaching at Marana High School and Pima Community College. Her passions were teaching students and assisting students to excel. She was a passionate advocate of higher learning and reducing the dropout rate of minority students. She took pride in working with students to achieve greatness in their education. Additionally, throughout our dad’s military career, she was a government employee for the Department of Defense commander as well as as many other positions abroad. She had a successful and rewarding career in her life.

After a hiatus from school, a little over a decade, she enrolled at U of A and received PhD in Fundamentals of Education receiving high honors on December 19,1992. Her Dissertation highlighted: Black High School Dropouts: Categorization and Variables In Education That Affect Minority Students.

Mahalia wore two hats as mother and father, while her husband served in the United States Air Force and Vietnam war. She sacrificed so the family would not have to relocate during long TDY assignments.

Mahalia is survived by her loving and devoted husband, Eugene Richard Tavares. His one and only true love. They shared an inseparable bond of love ordained by God sharing over 60 years of marriage. Mahalia was a phenomenal wife and will be cherished in his heart. Mahalia/Mom lived 91 wonderful and blessed years and will live on in all of us.

Mahalia is the 2nd to last living member of her immediate family. Children-Harold, LeRoy, Viana, Felecia & Cindi her youngest daughter, preceded her. Son-in-law; Loren & Grand Son-in-law,Michael, daughter-in-laws; Carolyn & Ruth, granddaughters-Natalie, Tara, Lauren & Jazmine; great grandsons-Jaden, Dylan, Logan, Ryan and first cousin-Emanuel. We extend a special acknowledgment to all who embraced Mahalia’s love and life.

She was a member at the Dove Catholic Church @ Davis Monthan Air Force base and served as an usher for many years. She was also a member of Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church.

She was an excellent cook and made sure all her children knew how to cook. Her homemade strawberry shortcake was a family favorite. We loved her Spanish cuisine and her delicious chimichangas.

Mom loved.

Mom lived.

Mom smiled

Mahalia, wife and mother

will rest in our hearts forever.

Mom had beautiful fashion aesthetics. She brought an air of elegance into every room. She used to say “always look your best in public, even if not well.” We live and uphold those standards every day of our lives.

Mom enjoyed & loved to create beautiful ceramic pieces as our home was decorated with them. She had many hobbies; designing jewelry and macrame. She loved butterflies symbolizing transformation and spiritual growth which lived within her. Her garden was breathtaking. She filled our home with love, grace and style. She appreciated the outdoors and enjoyed exploring nature & historical places. Most importantly, besides fulfilling and achieving her passions in life, she loved and cherished her family.

She was an exceptional, vibrant, intelligent and gifted woman. She set the standards for us: Believe, Achieve and it will be Done.

Mahalia, wife, mother, a phenomenal woman will be dearly missed.


You're the rose of our lives

& words will never capture

Your lovely essence

or the sacrifices made

for our family.

What a beautiful rose

you’ll always be

to us.

Your loving family

To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Mahalia Tavares, please visit our Tree Store


9:00 am - 10:30 am
Monday, November 13, 2023
Bring's Broadway Chapel
6910 East Broadway Boulevard
Tucson, Arizona, United States
(520) 296-7193

Funeral Mass

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Monday, November 13, 2023
Our Mother of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church
1800 South Kolb Road
Tucson, Arizona, United States
(520) 747-1321

Committal Service

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Monday, November 13, 2023
East Lawn Cemetery
5801 East Grant Road
Tucson, Arizona, United States
(520) 885-6741
Share Your Memory of