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September 23, 1942 - January 13, 2016
Burial Date January 20, 2016
Vigil: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at St. Martin’s Abbey, 5000 Abbey Way SE, Lacey, WA 7:30 pm
Funeral Mass: Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at St. Martin’s Abbey, 1:30 pm
Burial following mass in Abbey Cemetery
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Brother Theodore David Vavrek, O.S.B. (1942-2016)
Our long-time confrere Brother Theodore David Vavrek, O.S.B., passed peacefully to God
in the early morning hours of Wednesday, 13th January 2016, at Providence Mother Joseph
Care Center, Olympia, Washington, following several years of failing health. David George
Vavrek was born in Tacoma, Washington, on 23rd September 1942, the second son of Michael
Edward Vavrek and Anne Vavrek, née Ambrose. Young David began his education in Tacoma
public schools, but later attended Holy Rosary School, at Holy Rosary Parish, Tacoma, at
that time staffed by monks of Saint Martin’s Abbey. His teachers at Holy Rosary School were
Benedictine Sisters from the nascent Saint Placid Priory. He enrolled in Saint Martin’s High
School, Lacey, in 1958.
The late Abbot Raphael Heider, O.S.B., invested David as a Benedictine novice at a quasipontifical
Mass on 20th March 1961, giving him the name in religion of Theodore. Brother
Theodore made his simple profession of monastic vows on 21st March 1962. In 1965, on the
Feast of Saint Benedict, he made his perpetual vows. On January 22nd 1967, following the
recent reforms of the Second Vatican Council, he was among the first group of non-ordained
monks to make solemn vows at Saint Martin’s.
For a dozen years, Brother Theodore’s special charge was the Abbey chapel, which he
devotedly kept in perfect order. In the 1970’s, Brother Theodore returned to school, and in
1977 was awarded a Bachelor’s Degree in History by Saint Martin’s College (now University).
He later enrolled in a course in library technology and he then worked in the periodicals
section of the Saint Martin’s College Library for several years. At various times, he was in
charge of the Abbey commissary, looked after the Abbey motor pool, and assisted with the
care of Abbey guests. In 2012, Brother Theodore celebrated his golden jubilee of monastic
In middle age, his care for his aging widowed mother was a fine example of filial piety. At
that time, Brother Theodore developed a strong interest in the Byzantine Catholic Church of
his ancestors, and he often attended the Byzantine Divine Liturgy accompanied by his mother,
a devotion he continued long after her death. Brother Theodore also developed a great love of
icons and iconography, and icons dominated the walls of his monastic cell in his later years.
Brother Theodore is survived by his monastic confreres, by his brother and sister-in-law,
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Vavrek, and by several cousins.
His monastic community, family and friends, will gather at the Saint Martin’s Abbey Church,
Lacey, at 7:30 p.m., on Tuesday, 19th January 2016, for a vigil service. Mass of Christian
Burial will be con-celebrated in the Abbey Church at 1:30 p.m., on Wednesday, 20th January
2016, followed by burial in the Abbey Cemetery. The Right Reverend Neal G. Roth, O.S.B.,
Abbot of Saint Martin’s, will be the principal celebrant for the Mass. The Reverend Gerard
D. Kirsch, O.S.B., will deliver the occasional homily, and the Monastic Schola, under the
direction of Brother Aelred M. Woodard, O.S.B., will provide the music.
May the angels lead him into Paradise!