Published in the September 18, 2015 edition
Beatrice was one of six children of the late Leonard A. and Beatrice P.V. (Whiteacre) French. Raised in Melrose, she graduated from Melrose High School, Class of 1936, where she excelled academically and won the Spelling Bee sponsored by the Boston Traveler newspaper. Coming of age during the Great Depression, Bea learned early to be self-sufficient and strong. She dedicated her life to raising her two daughters while also working fulltime as a policy writer and supervisor for Arkwright Boston Insurance.
She was a smart, strong, and independent woman who loved her family. Most recently, she worked with AARP Senior Employment in Wakefield, as office manager.
As a teenager, she became an active member of the Fleur-de-Lis Club at Trinity Episcopal Church in Melrose. She was a longtime member of Trinity, and it remained close to her heart after she moved from Melrose. She also enjoyed volunteering at “My Brothers Table” in Lynn.
Bea was an accomplished painter in oils. She enjoyed knitting, crocheting, and loved doing the daily Foster’s crossword puzzle.
She was an avid golfer well into her 80’s. Bea and her late husband Patrick enjoyed their membership at Bear Hill Golf Club in Stoneham, MA, for many years. They also enjoyed many trips to Europe, visiting Germany, Ireland, and Iceland. In Scotland, they golfed at St. Andrews.
With her sharp mind and uncanny recall, Bea was the holder of many family stories. She loved to laugh and reminisce with her family. She enjoyed her cats Fluffy, Lucky, and Cleo, and had a soft spot for her “grand dogs” who she always greeted with a biscuit.
A loyal person, Bea was a trusted friend to many including fellow residents at Tara Estates in Rochester, NH, and members of the Quarter Century Club who were her former colleagues at Arkwright Boston Insurance. She was a highly organized person. She always remembered birthdays with a card, and prized thank you notes. Most of all, Bea loved family gatherings and celebrations. She will always be remembered. Her love for family is her legacy.
Bea was the beloved wife of the late Patrick J. Walsh, with whom she shared 30 years of marriage. She was the devoted mother of Ann Jewell and her husband Jack of Dover, NH, and Judith Kellner of Rochester, NH; the dear sister of Anna Davis of Londonderry, NH, and Eleanor Dulong of Langdon, NH. Her beloved brothers were the late Samuel L. French, William R. French and Charles A. French. Bea was the cherished grandmother of Kathryn Baker and her husband Richard of Saugus, Sandra Holden and her husband Patrick of Stoneham, Paul Johnson and his wife Kathleen of Melrose, Eric Johnson and his wife Sara of Barrington, NH, Matthew Johnson and his wife Maryalice of Virginia Beach, VA, Rebecca Laharia and her husband Pranay of Dallas, TX, and Oakley Kellner and his wife Beth of Whispering Pines, NC. She was the loving great-grandmother of Douglas, Curtis, Kacey, Meghan, Patrick, Ryan, Rachel, Cameron, James, Alexandra, Maya, Elise, Ella, Clara, and Selah. Also survived by several nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends gathered to honor and remember Bea’s life at the Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose on Friday, September 11, for visiting hours from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and on Saturday morning, at 10 a.m. for her Funeral Service.
Gifts in Bea’s memory may be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, NE Chapter, 101A First Ave., Waltham, MA 02451, or the Joslin Diabetes Center, Donation Dept., One Joslin Pl., Boston, MA 02215.
To read the online tribute or to share a memory, visit www.RobinsonFuneralHome.com.