Elayne Klavinger, manager and bartender at Howell’s Bar in Dearborn for more than 25 years, died April 16 at the age of 78.
Ms. Klavinger changed not only the atmosphere, but the entire pulse of the establishment, friends said.
There were no strangers. Wedding parties stopped in for pictures, college graduates celebrated on graduation day, mourners stopped in after the loss of a loved one, and, to keep in family tradition, 21-year-olds stopped in for their first legal drink.
People came because she made Howell’s a special place. She counseled hundreds, comforted more and touched all who came with in her realm. She created a family from a group of strangers. She wouldn’t let it be any other way.
Born and raised in Detroit, the small blonde was a dynamo with the passion and heart of her Danube Swabian relatives. Fiercely proud of being an American with a strong background, she will be remembered not only for her compassion and caring for the thousands she touched but also for her tremendous artistic talents.
Her home décor was a look into the 1920s. Her decorations for Christmas were inspired, as she truly loved this holiday of family and giving. The patrons of Howell’s were enamored by how she made a bar feel like home during the holidays.
Ms. Klavinger lived for her grand-children. She enjoyed summer vacations with them, trips to New York, theater, grocery shopping, birthdays and Christmas when she loved hosting the traditional family Christmas Eve celebration. There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do, if she could do it, for them.
A student of history and genealogy, Ms. Klavinger enjoyed all things of character and nobility. Her sense of humor made even the worst situation tolerable and her never ending belief in the ability of people to be anything they desired at any point in their lives, made her a kindred soul that will be missed.
She leaves her children, Suann Darmody, John Darmody, Kim Malmquist, Jacqueline Taschler and Sarah Erpa; brother Donald Klavinger and sister Donna Klavinger; grandchildren John, Brittney and Mary Darmody; Jacob, Nathan and Katherina Taschler; and Brian and Andrew Auquier; great grand-daughter Hailee Miller; and three nephews and a niece. She was predeceased by her parents, Stella and Peter Klavinger and brother Peter Klavinger Jr.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Toys for Tots (www.toysfortots.org/donate/Default.aspx) and Dearborn Special Olympics, 4064 John R., Troy, MI, 48085.
A memorial and luncheon was scheduled for April 24 at Fr. Patrick O’Kelley Knights of Columbus, 23663 Park St., Dearborn.