Madelyn Jean (Bavaro) McHale entered into eternal rest on Friday, January 21st. We take comfort in knowing that Madelyn is now at peace. Madelyn was a retired Catholic school teacher. She was devoted to her family, education, her students, and lifelong learning. She was always eager to learn new things and to try out new ways of teaching.
Madelyn grew up in Rahway and lived in Dumont for over thirty-five years. She was a proud graduate of Union Catholic High School and Caldwell College. Madelyn started her teaching career at St. Joseph's School in Norfolk, Virginia while her husband was stationed with the Navy. After their first child arrived, they returned to New Jersey and Madelyn devoted herself to raising their three girls. When all of the girls had started school, Madelyn happily returned to the classroom. She taught in Dumont public schools before finding herself back in Catholic school. She spent over ten years at St. Philips in Clifton where she taught Gifted and Talented. She moved on to Our Lady of the Valley in Wayne and then to Visitation Academy in Paramus. When her grandson Frankie was due to arrive, she volunteered to retire to help care for him while her daughter returned to work. She spent the rest of her “retirement” basking in the joys of her grandchildren.
She was always active in her parish – both at St. Joseph in Keyport and at St. John the Evangelist Church in Bergenfield. Throughout her life she was active in various parish groups including Cornerstone Women’s group, Children's Liturgy of the Word, Pre-Cana, CCD, Cor Unum prayer group, the baptism team, and with Right to Life. Madelyn was a passionate woman – holding fast to her beliefs and putting those beliefs to practice.
There was never a day that went by that she didn't brag about her children and especially her beloved grandchildren. She relished helping her grandkids with math, finding great jokes to tell, or in finding solutions to riddles.
Family and close friends will fondly remember Madelyn’s love of talking and sharing her opinion. She was well-known for holding up the line at Shoprite in deep conversation with old friends or new ones. Madelyn was also known for opening up her home for guests and feeding anyone that stopped by. She was quick to remind anyone that she was 100% Italian by birth and Irish by marriage only.
Madelyn was blessed with the care of wonderful doctors and nurses through her Cancer journey. She wrote of her experience for Valley (https://www.valleyhealth.com/services/gynecologic-oncology-program/peritoneal-cancer-valley-patient-experience). She battled the disease with the most amazing grace, strength, and endless positivity.
She is survived by her husband of over 50 years, Joseph M. McHale; her devoted children, Jennifer and her husband Robert, Marie and her husband Matthew, and Carolyn; her cherished grandchildren, Bobby, Megan, and Frankie. She is also survived by her sister Donna Ruchalski, brother-in-law Tom, her Aunt Venice, her Uncle Jim, nieces, nephews and cousins. She was predeceased by her father, Frank Bavaro and mother, Fran (Sodano) Bavaro.
Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend the Funeral at the St. John the Evangelist Church at 29 N Washington Ave, Bergenfield, NJ 07621. A Funeral Mass will be offered at 11:00 AM. Entombment will follow in St. Gertrude Cemetery, 53 Inman Ave, Colonia, NJ 07067 (across the street from her childhood home).
Madelyn spent countless hours reading, picking out books, and befriending the staff with her grandson Frankie at the Fair Lawn Library. As her family could attest, Madelyn would strongly discourage flowers. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in her memory to the Friends of the Maurice M. Pine Public Library (https://www.fairlawnlibrary.org/), to the Valley Hospital Infusion Center (https://www.valleyhealth.com/services/ambulatory-infusion-center). or to St. Jude Children's Hospital (https://www.stjude.org), 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-9959. Please also consider making a donation to have masses said at St. John the Evangelist Church in Bergenfield, NJ.