TCC’s historian, Marina Metevelis, dies at the age of 100

Marina Metevelis was Tulsa Community College’s (TCC) historian. She turned 100 years old in spring 2022. During winter 2023, TCC and the Tulsa community received the sad news that Metevelis had passed away.

Many TCC employees and students remember Metevelis as a nice, generous person, and an incredible companion. Here are some facts from Metevelis’s biography.

Metevelis began working at the TCC library in 1970. She became director of the college’s Heritage Center in 1992 and preserved thousands of items of TCC/TJC (Tulsa Junior College) memorabilia, such as the first college band uniform, books, slides, newspaper articles, documents, awards, old computers, and even medical dummies.

Metevelis was that magical person who found a good location to build the first TCC campus, which is the Metro Campus today. She was well-respected. Metevelis was of great counsel and advice to the leadership at the college.

The founding president of TJC (the former name of the college), Dr. Alfred M. Philips, was from Dallas, Texas. Philips was unfamiliar with Tulsa. Metevelis and her husband Don, who was the Postmaster General in Tulsa, helped Phillips choose a piece of land for the construction of the new college.

During WWII, Metevelis worked at the Boeing plant in Kansas, overseeing the rivets placed in military planes. Her brother was killed in the war at the age of 18. Her husband was seriously injured on the battlefield and was moved from hospital to hospital. Metevelis took nursing classes to help her husband’s recovery.

Metevelis also participated in concerts for American troops in WWII because she was a dancer. She had been dancing since she was a child.

Metevelis gave talks on WWII history at universities, colleges, and public events. Her stories always had personal twists and tales of being a witness of difficult times. For example, the stories included details such as descriptions of giant screens, which camouflaged the Boeing plant and surroundings, or memories about meeting famous entertainers Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, and others during the war.

In 2017, Metevelis retired from the TCC. She was 94 years old at that time. She worked at TCC for 47 years.

Marina Metevelis, former director of the TCC Heritage Center, passed away in winter 2023. Many employees and students remember her as an energetic, humorous, and kind person. Photo submitted.
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