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Monday, July 24, 2023
11:00am - 12:00pm (Central time)
Ariane Simone Kavass died peacefully on June 20, 2023. Known to everyone as Biba, she had a heart of service which she shared with everyone around her, especially her students.
Born in Melbourne, Australia on December 2, 1963, Biba was the middle of three sisters of Igor and Irene Kavass. As a child, she loved playing tennis and deep sea fishing. Her father’s position as an international law librarian resulted in an exciting childhood of global traveling and transition. She moved from Australia to the United States at the age of two and grew up in Tuscaloosa, Chicago, Durham, and Nashville. When it was her turn to pick a place to move, she relocated to Florida to attend University of Miami.
After college, Biba lived in Washington D.C. for nearly a decade conducting legislative and federal research on healthcare until she joined the Navy in 1997 where she worked as an electronics and software technician. She affectionately referred to her family members as “civilians” at holiday visits during her time in the military.
In 2003, after working at Raymond James for four years, Biba acted upon her true calling and pursued graduate studies to become a teacher. She received her Masters in Business Education from Middle Tennessee State University in 2005 and set forth to become a brilliant public school teacher of economics in Tennessee, namely in Memphis where she taught at Southwind High School and Cordova High School. She was an indefatigable presence within the education system and deeply cared for her students and their futures.
Biba’s teaching excellence has been recognized nationally by the Council for Economic Education as she received The John Morton Excellence in the Teaching of Economics Award, a nomination for the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award, a Fellowship at the Brighter Brains Institute where she published articles on Sustainability in Social Giving. She is a grant recipient of the McCarthey-DressmanFoundation, enabling students to travel in South America where they studied global poverty issues. In 2011, Biba created the nonprofit organization Microfinance in Action which was dedicated to the study of poverty eradication, microfinancing, and economic growth and development for high school students.
She also loved volunteering with the American Red Cross in both Logistics, Preparedness, and Service to the Armed Forces.
As the leader of the Supply Chain classes at Cordova High School, Biba started a partnership which resulted in a student inventory team for Red Cross shelter trailers and the creation of an inventory tracking app. She also trained her students to assist with adult and youth disaster preparedness presentations to better inform the community of what to do in an emergency. Because of this, Biba spearheaded one of the most successful Red Cross student programs in the state of Tennessee.
She also did whatever she could for those serving our country. As part of the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces team, Biba made sure that the contact information for every recruit that went through Memphis was properly saved. Biba's attention to detail and genuine love for the job made her a wonderful volunteer and a true friend to all who knew her.
To the end, Biba was kind, optimistic, and supportive of others.
Her family is grateful to the dedicated staff at Methodist Hospice who kept her comfortable during her final days. Biba is preceded in death by her father, mother, and first stepmother, Elsa Dorta. Her survivors include her sister Kisa Kavass and her husband John Chastain and Kisa’s son Erik Unger and his wife Nicole Stevens; her sister Dolly King and her husband William King and their children Harrison, Alex, and Emma King; her stepmother, Carmen Kavass; her half-sister Veronica Kavass and her husband Adam Montegut and their child Alma Montegut, her half-brother Nicholas Kavass; and a cherished extended family in Australia.
The memorial service for Biba will take place at Christ the King on July 24 at 11am.