Clement W. “Clem” Gavenas, a retired teacher at the Catonsville Center for Alternative Studies and enthusiastic outdoorsman, died of cancer April 18 at his home in Carney. He was 81.
Born in Baltimore and raised in Canton, he was the son of Anthony Gavenas, a Bethlehem Steel worker, and his wife, Melva, a homemaker. He was a 1957 graduate of Patterson Park High School, where he played basketball. Then he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Wilkes University, where he continued his basketball career.
After teaching for 10 years in upstate New York, he moved back to Baltimore in 1971 to work in the Baltimore County schools system. He began at Golden Ring Middle School and later taught at the Catonsville Center for Alternative Studies.
“Clem was known for his legacy of working with at-risk kids,” said his wife, Jane Detwiler. “He had a great sense of humor and was a jokester. He was kind to everyone he met. His students loved him. He had the ability to touch peoples’ hearts and souls.”
Mr. Gavenas also taught mathematics at the CCBC Essex campus.
He was a basketball coach in Baltimore County schools.
Mr. Gavenas was a fly fisherman and enjoyed trips along the Gunpowder Falls, and was an avid kayaker and skier. As a dancer, he was especially proficient at the jitterbug. He was an ancestry buff and studied his Lithuanian heritage.
Survivors include his wife of 27 years, a retired Baltimore County teacher; three sons, Jeffrey Gavenas of Dallas, William Gavenas of Stockholm, and Gary Gavenas of Forest Hill; a brother, Edward Gavenas of Selbyville, Delaware; two sisters, Toni Bivens of Dundalk and Mary Margaret Trigger of Pasadena; and four grandchildren.
Plans for a memorial service are undetermined.