Madeleine “Maggie” Gawelko

Madeleine “Maggie” Gawelko

Madeleine “Maggie” Gawelko

Passed away May 15, 2024

Madeleine Brehm Gawelko entered heaven on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. Her bright spirit and joyful, loving nature will be deeply missed by family and friends who dearly loved her and by those she served with dedication for so many years.

When spending time with Madeleine, endearingly known as Maggie, you could feel her graceful presence. Through her embodied optimism, she’d look you in the eyes and make you believe that all things were possible, even when faced with life’s challenges.

Her energy was boundless in her infectious zest for life. She was a perfect balance of determination and compassion — a force of nature and a wonderful encourager of family and friends. If you were in Maggie’s life, she loved you like a mother.

Born Madeleine Aurora Copp in San Antonio, she was the fourth of five children raised by their single mom, Aurora Copp. She graduated from Blessed Sacrament Academy, earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Southwest Texas State and a master’s in education from Our Lady of the Lake University.

Her beacon of faith guided her whole life and led to a time of serving in the convent as a nun, but that would not be her long-term vocation.

Maggie’s desire to impart a positive impact on people’s lives led to a career in teaching. She later became a school counselor, a role that she deeply cherished. She dedicated 30 years of her counseling career to Northside ISD’s Locke Hill Elementary School, where she made a significant impact by compassionately supporting students and their families.

Known as the “Bumblebee Lady,” Maggie inspired children to “bee” all they could be, pursue their dreams and reach their full potential.

She also played a crucial role in mentoring new counselors, passing on her wisdom and experience to the next generation, and promoting values important to her and the profession.

Maggie contributed to the Children’s Fine Art series, which aimed to engage younger children with authors and theater performances. Not only was Maggie a beloved figure at the school, but she was also an award-winning author, having written and co-authored several counseling books for children.

Some of her published works, such as “Keep Your Word,” “Movement with a Purpose” and “Get Rid of the Hurt,” were illustrated by her son, David.

Though her work was vitally important to her, family came first. A blind date by eager matchmakers at the Teachers Credit Union led to her 30-year marriage to Leonard Brehm. Together with their three children — David, Marlene and Lynette — they lived a beautiful life of love and nurturing.

The family enjoyed spending time at their property in the Hill Country, chasing armadillos, roasting marshmallows and clearing cedar. Maggie would be right in the middle of it all, making memories.

An enthusiastic supporter of her multitalented children, Maggie was front and center cheering for David at his basketball games or guitar solos, Marlene and Lynette at their Showstoppers performances, and every other business and musical endeavor her entrepreneurial children embarked upon.

Dinner together every night, breakfast in bed for special occasions and decorating the house to the hilt for every holiday, especially Christmas, Maggie delighted in creating magical holiday memories.

After Leonard’s passing in 2003, Maggie dedicated her time to caring for her mother until her death at 96. Then, another chapter opened when Col. Jacob Gawelko, who had also lost his spouse, came into Maggie’s life through eHarmony.

Their chemistry and connection were instantaneous in their courtship, so Maggie and Jack, as she liked to call him, established three agreements before deciding to marry: all the kids must get along; Jack would learn to dance; and Maggie would learn to play golf.

Maggie retired from counseling and the couple enjoyed 14 years of marriage together. They were members of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, serving as eucharistic ministers and in marriage-nurturing ministries.

During this time, Maggie became part of a weekly women’s bible study, which was an impactful time of spiritual friendship and growth in her faith. Their grandchildren became their greatest joy and the center of their time and attention.

When Jack suffered a debilitating stroke in 2020, Maggie was right by his side in loving support and care until she faced complications with her own health just weeks ago.

Jack and Maggie’s love story continues, as they both passed away at 11:11, just five days apart. This is a significant number, as Jack, a decorated Air Force pilot honored with the Distinguished Flying Cross, flew F-111s.

We like to believe he got into his jet and flew Maggie home to Jesus at 11:11, a number sequence that will forever remind their blended family of their eternal love.

Thank you, Maggie, for reminding us that the present moment is precious and that we should make the most of it by loving fully and generously.

Maggie’s surviving family includes her oldest sister, Marie Forbes, and three children, two stepchildren, and seven grandchildren: David Brehm and his wife, Stephanie, along with their two children, Marshall and Madeleine Brehm; her daughter Lynette and her son Luke Brehm; her daughter Marlene, and her husband, Sean Brehm, along with the youngest grandchild, Hudson; her stepson Joseph Gawelko, his wife, Laurie, and their daughter Hope; and her stepdaughter Michele Galindo, her husband, J.D., and their children, Joshua and Adalynn.

A celebration of Jack and Maggie Gawelko’s lives will take place on Monday, June 17, 2024, at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church with visitation beginning at 11 a.m. followed by funeral Mass at noon. Their joint burial will follow at 2 p.m. at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

In honor of Maggie’s legacy, the family requests that memorial gifts be made to the Presidio Pregnancy Center,

Arrangements are under the care and direction of the staff of Holt & Holt Funeral Home of Boerne. To share words of comfort with the family, please visit