Athena “Teena” Seale
Athena “Teena” Seale
Athena Margellos Seale was born in Rochester, Minnesota, on December 1, 1931, and passed away on January 6, 2022.
“Teena” was the daughter of Greek immigrants Harry Margellos and Anastasia Demas Margellos. She was the third of four children which included her brother George and two sisters: Marguerite and Voula. Her father and uncles started a confectionery, which they later expanded into a soda fountain shop and restaurant called The Princess Café. Teena and her siblings worked at the café when help was hard to find, as it so often was post- WWII. Athena’s parents were outgoing, fitting well into the American culture. They were helpful to those in need and very hospitable, often inviting people from all walks of life to their home for family dinners. It is here where Teena and her siblings learned much about other people and cultures via the many interesting conversations held around the table.
Teena was baptized and took her communions in the Greek Churches of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. However, she attended the Calvary Episcopal Church with her family in Rochester, as there was not yet a Greek Orthodox Church in the area. Teena, along with her parents and siblings, took part in all the Episcopal Church activities. Teena sang in the choir and attended Sunday School from third grade throughout High School. In addition, Teena was involved with Greek children from all over the Upper Midwest through the Greek organization GOYA, which stands for the Greek Orthodox Youth of America. Under the tutelage of her parents, the Rochester Greek community eventually established a Greek Orthodox Church in the early 1950’s. As a young adult at the time, Athena was an active member, serving as both the choir director and as a fund raiser, raising money with her youth group to pay for a new organ.
Teena loved her hometown of Rochester, describing it as a wonderful town in which to raise children. Home to the Mayo Clinic, it was a patriotic and progressive town of 30,000, with great schools and many child-friendly activities. Teena participated in girls’ sports at school, and ice skating and dancing outside of school. When not engaged in those activities or with helping out at the Princess, she spent most of her free time with her close-knit group of friends. These childhood friends remained close throughout their lives, joining together for several “decade” birthday reunions as well as high school reunions.
After High School, Athena attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Harvard summer school, graduating in 1953 with a degree in Education. Teena proceeded to teach First Grade for ten years. Her first teaching assignment was in Portland, Oregon where she lived for two years with a college friend. She then went on to teach in Rochester, Minnesota for four years.
In approximately 1959, Teena, along with many of her teacher friends, applied for overseas teaching positions. They were all accepted and chose Germany for its central location. She and her friends were split all over Germany and Athena landed at the US Army base in Vogelweh. This was a 5 minute drive from Kaiserslautern: an industrial town of about 75,000 at the time, located in the southwest corner of Germany, near the French border. It was here she taught for three years, and met lifelong friends with whom she enjoyed traveling throughout Europe. She dabbled in Berlitz German language classes and loved living the European life, including driving on the autobahn. She learned to ski in Austria and spent most weekends skiing, when not traveling. It was here in “K-town” (Kaiserslautern) that Athena met her future husband, Billy Seale. Billy was a first lieutenant stationed in Vogelweh, having just completed language school where he had become fluent in the German language. With his language training, he worked as an Intelligence Officer in Germany. However, he spent most of his military career as an Artillery officer, which he found very rewarding. Billy began courting Teena in Germany. They had numerous couple friends with whom they developed lifelong friendships, creating unforgettable memories skiing and enjoying Europe together.
Athena returned to the States in the summer of 1962, briefly teaching in Edina, Minnesota.
Billy followed in December 1962. They were married in Rochester, Minnesota on January 12, 1963 at the Greek Orthodox Church, then immediately set out to Fort Sill Oklahoma, where Billy was assigned to train at the Advanced Artillery School.
Subsequently, Athena and Billy had 3 daughters: Annie, Jennifer and Amy, and a beloved family dog, Roscoe. As a military family, they lived in five different cities within a ten year span, finally settling in El Paso, Texas in 1973, following Billy’s retirement from the Army. Drawing from his pre-military career as a Mechanical Engineer and his substantial military experience, Billy began a new career in the Homebuilding, and eventual Land Development business, where Athena took on the role of designer and decorator. Mostly, Athena spent this time raising her daughters and taking care of her family. She was very involved in her children’s lives, volunteering in their schools via PTA, Room Mothering and Sunday School teaching. She also spent a number of hours serving her church, Saint Clements Episcopal Church, as a volunteer at the Bargain Box. (The church’s community clothing and thrift store.) She also served as a member of both the Woman’s Club of El Paso and P.E.O. Furthermore, she was an annual volunteer for El Paso’s beloved Kermezaar Arts Festival.
Teena and Billy both enjoyed an active lifestyle, Teena with aerobics and Billy with running and racquetball. As their children entered their teenage years, Teena and Billy began traveling all over the world and continued to do so well into their early 80’s.
In 1998, Athena and Billy retired to Saddlebrooke, Arizona- an active retirement community outside of Tucson. There, they both continued their active lifestyle while serving others as they were able. Teena was an avid tennis player and loved playing with “the girls.” She also enjoyed P.E.O. gatherings, aerobics, and spending time with Billy, whether working out together or just relaxing. They developed many new friendships at both Saddlebrooke and their treasured Saint Phillips in the Hills Episcopal Church.
After Billy’s death in 2013, Teena moved to Dallas to be near her daughters. She spent her remaining years here, continuing her active lifestyle.
Despite her ongoing memory loss, Teena lived her life to the fullest with the help of her daughters. She enjoyed movies, musicals, plays, museums, dining out and many vacations, including Lost Pines, where she loved floating down the Lazy River. She continued her devotion to her Christian faith and became a member of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, greatly enjoying Sunday worship. She also enjoyed spending time with her many friends singing, dancing, listening to music and participating in the many activities such as crafts and gardening at the Preston of the Park Cities, where she was dearly loved.
Teena celebrated her 90th birthday with her family on December 1, 2021 before passing peacefully Home on January 6, 2022, where she was finally reunited with Billy, the love of her life.
The two were blessed to be able to celebrate their 50th anniversary just before Billy’s death in 2013.
Athena was a loving, vibrant and strong wife, mother, daughter and sister. Her greatest joy was taking care of, and being with, her family. She is dearly loved and will be missed daily by her family.
Athena is survived by three daughters: Annie Seale Harris, Jennifer Seale, and Amy Seale Kirchen, one son-in-law, John Kirchen, and five grandchildren: Caroline and Brooks Kirchen, and Faith, Olivia and Dalton Harris. All live in Dallas, Texas. Athena is also survived by her youngest sister, Voula Margellos Heffernan and brother-in-law Jim Heffernan of Duluth, Minnesota and her nephew and niece Patrick Heffernan and family from Duluth, Minnesota and Katie Heffernan Carson and family from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was preceded in death by her parents, Harry and Anastasia Margellos, her older sister Marguerite Margellos and her older brother George Margellos and his wife Linda Schultz Margellos.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made “In Memory of Athena Margellos Seale” to the Alzheimer’s Association via their website: www.act.alz.org , or by calling 1-800- 272-3900.
It was such a nice pleasure to meet you, and what you had planned for my father just took my breath away. It was so special to hear you tell us how he would just come over to talk with you. I think it brought him much comfort. Tha you for putting that Air Force article of him on your website. I am going to have a replica made of the painting of his plane to give you. Thank you again for all you have done to honor our dad. Love, The Gillilands
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