By Michelle Caceres

Educators and community members gathered Saturday at Bevis Elementary School to celebrate the life and significant contributions to education made by Colleen Lunsford Bevis, the schools’ namesake, who died on October 11. Bevis was 97.

Bevis's choral department sang a "Song of Peace" at the memorial service for Colleen Lunsford Beavis, the school's namesake, who died in October.
Bevis’s choral department sang a “Song of Peace” at the memorial service for Colleen Lunsford Beavis, the school’s namesake, who died in October.

The memorial, officiated by Dr. L. Adlai Boyd and held in the school’s cafeteria, featured a vocal performance by an ensemble of students, remarks by Drs. Beverly Carbaugh and Robert Friedman, reflections by Bevis’s grandchildren and readings and excerpts from cherished works. Tables stood along the back wall littered with awards and recognition for her work and service as a dedicated children’s advocate.

Dr. Beverly Carbaugh, the school’s first principal, worked closely with Bevis during the school’s construction, getting input and advice and helping to plan the dedication.

“Whenever we spoke and I would ask for her advice she would always tell me ‘it’s about the children,’” said Carbaugh.

Bevis, a Tampa native, graduated from Brandon High School and attended the University of Tampa. After marrying H. Wayne Bevis in 1941, they started a family, having two daughters, Beverly and Judy. In 1951 Bevis joined her local Parent Teacher Association (PTA). She later became the local, county and state PTA president and also served on the national PTA board.

Her impressive history, which spans more than 50 years of service to her community, was lengthy and included organizations devoted to the welfare of Florida’s children.

Current principal, Melanie Cochrane, who said she is proud to be the principal at a school named in her honor, thinks it was the perfect place for her memorial.

“It’s only fitting that her memorial was held here because this school meant so much to her,” said Cochrane. In lieu of flowers, the family asked for those wishing to honor her memory to make a donation to the children’s charity of their choice.

For more information about Colleen Lunsford Bevis or to view her obituary or sign the online guestbook, visit


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MIchelle Caceres has been writing for the Osprey Observer for seventeen years. She enjoys writing human interest pieces about inspiring members of the community who are working to better our community. She lives in FishHawk Ranch with her husband and recently became an empty-nester. When not writing, Michelle is serving her church community, reading and enjoying Florida's weather.