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Lena Juanita Madaris

May 25, 1925 – September 25, 2023

Lena Juanita Madaris

Lena Juanita Madaris, affectionately known as “Cookie,” a loving mother, devoted educator, and cherished member of her community, passed away peacefully on September 25, 2023, at the age of 98. Lena was born on May 25, 1925, in Rockwood, Tennessee, the daughter of the late Willis and Thelma Cook.

Lena Graduated at the age of 16, from Campbell High School in Rockwood, Tennessee in 1942. She entered the Tuskegee Institution at the age of 17 and majored in physical education for 3 years. After attending the Tuskegee Institution Lena began traveling and she met her late husband, James Madaris, with whom she would share four children. She started her career in retail and worked at Pogue’s Mabley and Carew.

Lena dedicated her life to the field of education, making a lasting impact on countless students throughout her career. She pursued her passion for teaching by earning a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Cincinnati-while raising four children. She was a dedicated student and made the Dean’s list every year. Ultimately, she found her calling in special education. Lena selflessly served as a special education teacher at Dyer School, pouring her heart into her work and positively shaping the lives of her students.

Beyond her professional accomplishments, Lena was a beacon of love and support for her family. She was a devoted mother to her daughter Gwendolyn Madaris and son Daryl Madaris. She took great joy in teaching them sports, sharing her love for football and basketball. Lena also possessed a natural talent for cooking, delighting her loved ones with delicious meals that brought them together around the table. She will be remembered for her love of red lipstick, her sense of humor, perfume, her love of fashion and music, being a good friend to many. Also, for her love for fine China and Waterford crystal.

Lena is survived by her brother Edward (Betty) Cook, sister Mary Catherine, children Gwendolyn and Daryl Madaris, stepson Clyde Madaris, three bonus children Reggie, Bryant, Donelle Madaris, and Eric Madaris. A beautiful legacy of grandchildren: Kimberly (Dewayne) Davis, Dorrell Madaris, Culley (Naomi) Madaris, Marcus (Adilenia) Madaris, Mark (Nadege) Madaris, Damen Madaris, Dedra Daniels, Rasheida Stallworth, and Juanita Madaris. Nieces Phyllis, Regina, Georgia, and Laura. Her nephews, Jonathan and Jarrett. She is also survived by many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, and many dear friends. Her love and wisdom will forever guide and inspire them. A special thanks to Niecy, Pauline, Mrs. Barron, Willie and Gloria Forte, her great-nieces Kara (Dion) Montgomery, Angila Madaris, and Melanie for assisting with her care, and her special niece Sunny.

Lena was preceded in death by her parents, Thelma and Willis Cook, son, Maurice Madaris, daughter, Carol Madaris.

Though separated by her passing, Lena’s family and friends will gather together to remember her remarkable life, her unwavering love, and the indelible impact she made on all who knew her.

As we bid farewell to Lena Juanita Madaris, let us remember her for her kindness, her dedication to education, and the love she shared with her family. May her soul find eternal peace and may her memory forever be a guiding light in our lives.



Wednesday, October 18, 2023, at 11:30 AM

The Arlington Memorial Gardens

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“Dear Gwen and family, my heart felt condolences in the passing of your beloved Mom. May you cherish all of the memories she has left. God Bless.”

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