May 25 • 11:32 PM

Sylvia Flora Chevalier

Sylvia Flora Chevalier

Died: Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Age: 89
Sylvia Flora Chevalier, 89, of Allenton, formerly of Clinton Twp., died Tuesday, May 13, 2008, at her home.

Sylvia was born June 7, 1918 in Mt. Clemens, a daughter of Guiseppe "Joseph" and Helen (nee Desenhaus) Bear.

Sylvia’s parents emigrated from Genoa, Italy to the U.S. in 1910, when their name was shortened from Bearnasconio. Her family traveled extensively due to her father’s business and Sylvia graduated from high school in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at 16. When the family returned to the U.S., Sylvia stayed in New York working as a seamstress, doing alterations and making hats at a haberdashery.

Sylvia married Emile E. Brunelle on Nov. 23, 1938 in North Bridge, MA. They moved to Baltimore, MD, where they had 5 children. Emile was in the Merchant Marines and U.S. Navy, and served in the Philippines during World War II, while Sylvia was a “Rosie the Riveter” back home. Later Sylvia moved back to Michigan to be near family. She worked 2 or 3 jobs waitressing for 27 years to support her family.

On June 7, 1959, Sylvia married Alphonse M. Chevalier in Mt. Clemens. They opened a small restaurant on Market Street in Mt. Clemens and named it Sylvia’s Diner. She got a job at Selfridge Air Force Base in civil service and also at TACOM in Warren. She was later employed as a U.S. Postal Worker until her retirement in 1986. In 1987 she moved to Florida, returning to Michigan permanently in 2000.

Sylvia was fluent in several languages, Spanish, Russian, Hebrew, German, French and English. She worked on political campaigns for Jim O’Hara, Dave Bonior and several other delegates. She was a lifetime member of the VFW, American Legion and Amvets Auxiliaries and also of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees and Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary. She loved cake decorating, crocheting, sewing, cooking and entertaining her family and friends.

Surviving are her children, Mary Ann (Tom) Jackson of North Glenn, CO, Sandra Green of Clinton Twp., Anthony Brunelle of Clinton Twp., Linda (James) Dedenbach of Allenton and Brenda (Ronald) Ashby of Searchlight, NV; grandchildren, Debra White, Tina Holub, Sandra Greenhill, Tony Brunelle Jr., Ronald Ashby Jr., James Dedenbach Jr. and Tammy Traxler; 13 great-grandchildren; 12 great-great-grandchildren; brother, Fred (Rose) Bear of Lauderdale Lakes, FL; sister-in-law, Geraldine Bear and brother-in-law, Dale Axtell. She was predeceased by her husbands, Emile Brunelle and Alphonse Chevalier and siblings, Sam Bear and Ruth Axtell.

A funeral mass was celebrated Saturday, May 17, at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Allenton with the Rev. Fr. Wayne Ureel, celebrant. Inurnment took place in West Berlin Cemetery, Berlin Twp.

Memorial tributes may be made to Hospice of Henry Ford, St. John-Allenton Building Fund, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital or the Alzheimer’s Association.

Funeral arrangements were made by Tiffany-Young and Hauss Funeral Home in Armada.
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