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Bea Henry, 95

Beata (Bea) Henry, 95, died on October 18, 2013 at Bethany Home.

Beata was born on February 15, 1918 to Joseph and Anna Dierkhising in Ogama. She grew up in Freeport and attended Sacred Heart Catholic School, completing 9th grade. After several years of employment in retail and hospitality, she operated her own restaurant as an independent entrepreneur.

She met George Henry on the Fourth of July in 1938, and they were married on April 28, 1942. Shortly after their marriage, the couple moved to St. Paul, where both worked for Northwest Airlines. Beata also worked at an exclusive department store, the Golden Rule.

In 1944, their daughter Georgette was born. They then moved to Alexandria and built Northland Motors and the Lakes Cafe on Highway 52. This location was later expanded to include offices and rental bays for Quinn Trucking.

In the 1960s, the business was again expanded, adding Beas Better Bait and Tackle and Vikingland Ice. Bea also owned and operated a soft serve ice cream drive-in. During this period, Lyle was born in 1948, and Clyde was born in 1950. Another child, Gerard, was born in 1956, but survived only one day.

George and Bea sold their businesses in 1970, took up residence at Lake Latoka and enjoyed traveling for several years throughout the U.S and in the West Indies. In 1974, they were asked to take over the management of Hi-View Park.

In 1990, after the passing of her husband, she moved to an apartment on Willow Drive and spent the next six winters in West Palm Beach with her lifelong friend, Rose Arendt. She also traveled to China, Sweden and the Holy Lands.

At the age of 70, Beata proudly received her Graduate Equivalency Diploma after a period of intensive study. She started an exercise program at the Alexandria Senior Center called Beas Busy Bodies. She also volunteered as a senior companion and was a volunteer driver for social services. She was named to the American Hall of Fame for her volunteer services.

Bea made significant contributions to many religious and civic organizations. In 1952, she became a charter member of the Eagles Auxiliary in Alexandria and served as its president for multiple terms. She was a member of the Daughters of Isabella at St. Marys Catholic Church and served as regent of that auxiliary. She also gave many hours of time and was a generous supporter of many local charities. She most enjoyed teaching CCD classes at St. Mary's for several years.

Beata was a very talented seamstress and enjoyed making unique and treasured items for her children and grandchildren. She crocheted, painted, gardened and was an excellent cook. She was devoted to healthy eating, gathered and formulated her own herbal teas, grew and dried spices, fruits and vegetables, and produced many delicious holiday meals. She was an avid card player and could take home the jackpot from any gathering of family or friends. Her collection of turtles from around the world delighted visitors to her home.

Beata is survived by her sister, Patsy Ludwig of Albert Lea; daughter, Georgette Vickstrom of Alexandria; son, Lyle of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; son, Clyde of Columbus, Ohio; grandchildren, Kyla Eversman of Jefferson City, Missouri, Cletus Vickstrom of Alexandria, Kelley Girtz of Becker, Kristin Vickstrom of Minneapolis, Stevie Williams of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Jude Henry of Bartlesville, Katara Zachmann of Marion, Ohio, Athena Sidenstricker of Delaware, Ohio, and Aletheia Henry of Washington, D.C.; and 18 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, George; her son, Gerard; and 10 of her siblings.

Visitation is from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 22 at Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria, beginning with a recitation of the rosary.

Funeral mass will be celebrated at St. Marys Church at 11a.m. on Wednesday, October 23. Burial will follow immediately at St. Marys Cemetery.

Arrangements are with Anderson Funeral Home.