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1940 Lona 2024

Lona Evelyn Tavernise

January 8, 1940 — April 12, 2024


Lona Evelyn Powers Tavernise, age 84, of Hillsborough, NC, passed away on April 12, 2024.

Lona was born on January 8, 1940, in Austin, TX, the daughter of Mary Elizabeth Barbee Powers and Commander Oscar Scofield Powers, Ph.D.  

Lona graduated from Durham High School in 1958, then went on to Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, earning a BA in Education in 1962. She pursued graduate studies for Medical Record Librarians at Baltimore City College.   

Lona married Emilio Giuseppe Tavernise on July 16, 1965, in Copenhagen, Denmark, by a justice of the peace. During their marriage of 34 years, Lona and Emilio lived at Hahn Air Base, Germany; the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO; Alexandria and Mt. Vernon, VA; Mons and Waterloo, Belgium; and Rome, Italy. Together their travels took them to France, Denmark, England, Spain, Greece, and Turkey.  

In her early career, Lona worked as a special education teacher in New York City public schools, a second grade teacher in Durham City schools, and a substitute teacher in Fairfax County, VA, schools. She later worked as an editorial assistant and office manager for Time-Life Books, and an office manager at the Interlock Group, both in Alexandria, VA. As a volunteer, she handled human resources at the Montessori School in Colorado Springs, chaired a tour committee for the International Women’s Club at Hahn Air Base in Germany, and served on the River Farms Townhouse Homeowners’ Association in Virginia.  

Upon her return to North Carolina in 1998, Lona enjoyed monthly lunches with her former Durham High School classmates. She loved the period when she attended exercise classes at Duke Center for Living. She spent ten years taking care of her mother Mary Elizabeth Powers, with loving dedication, until her mother passed at age 96. Lona lived in Hillsborough, NC, and spent the last five years of her life with her loving partner John Tubiolo. 

Lona especially loved art and antiques. She showed her creativity in watercolors, needlepoint, and interior design. She loved geraniums, the colors coral and red, ceramics, and fabrics. She was a keen financial investor, tuning in to PBS shows such as Bloomberg’s Wall Street Week and On the Money.  

Lona loved dogs, starting with her childhood family boxer Pookie, her loyal miniature poodle Nimbus, and beloved companion Sounder, a German shorthaired pointer.  

Remaining to cherish Lona’s memory are her son Peter Tavernise (Sara) and daughter Adriana Tavernise; grandchildren, Charlotte Tavernise, Sylvia Tavernise, and Elisa Vance; brother, Jack Powers; nephew and nieces, Christopher Powers, Jennifer Powers Hicks, and Elizabeth Powers; cousins, Gilbert B. Wheless, Jr. and Larry Hamlett; and many beloved members of the Tubiolo family. 

Preceding Lona in death are her partner of 5 years, John Tubiolo; parents, Mary Elizabeth and Oscar S. Powers; sister-in-law, Ruth McBride Powers; aunts, Rebecca Lee “Becky” Barbee Hamlett and Lona Evelyn “Eve” Barbee Wheless; uncles, Gilbert Barnes Wheless, Sr. and Roswell Woodrow “Ros” Hamlett, Sr.; cousins Don Monroe Wheless, Sr., and Roswell Woodrow “Woody” Hamlett, Jr. 

Memorial donations in Lona’s memory may be directed to Authoracare Hospice of Burlington, NC.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Lona Evelyn Tavernise, please visit our flower store.


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