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Ethel Beadell longtime resident of Chicago and later, after retiring, Brownsville, Texas, died at the age of 99 on September 6, in the care of loving staff and family at Scandia Village, Sister Bay, Wisconsin, where she had resided for the previous two years.
Ethel Borghild Aarestad was born June 23, 1914, in Hannaford, ND and graduated from the University of Minnesota, where she affiliated with Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and received a degree in journalism. It was there she met and married her late husband Walter Beadell and together bore two sons, Jon Michael (deceased) and Anthony Dirk. She is survived by three grandchildren, three great-granddaughters and two great-great grandchildren.
While in Chicago, Ethel contributed regularly to the now defunct Chicago Daily News and received a degree in Fine Arts from the Chicago Art Institute in 1961. She continued to study painting and drawing at the University of Oslo, Norway and the Institute in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Ethel was a prolific and versatile painter. Most of her academic work was in the loose free style of modern painting with elements of realism. She felt all abstract work should "start with something, or it will end with nothing". Her work was exhibited at the Art Institute, Museum of Natural History, University of Chicago and in New York, at the Galerie Chevance, Madison Avenue, and the Ruth Sherman Gallery, East 72nd Street. In the mid-1960s, while living in New York, she was a permanent exhibiting artist at the Brooklyn Art Center.
Besides painting, Ethel was a noted jewelry designer working primarily in sterling and semi-precious stones. Upon her return to Chicago from New York, she secured her teaching license and taught at Taft, Phillips and Schurz high schools for 20 years earning the respect of many students who corresponded with her long afterwards. Ethel made herself available well into her eighties as a lecturer on art history, Russian art from pre-Christian to Soviet-present and Illustrated Manuscripts. She particularly enjoyed giving cultural enrichment programs on arts as decoration, as social documentation and as human experience. She is a charter member of the Brownsville Art League which thrives today.
Favorite interests and activities which continued into her nineties included bridge, recurring op-ed contributions to both the Chicago Tribune and Brownsville Herald, daily swimming, extensive world traveling and gardening. She liked to quote "no one is too high nor too low to be a gardener". In 2010 she wrote, illustrated and self-published "A Black Cat Tale".
Only two weeks ago upon returning from a PMF concert, Ethel quoted the final stanza from a favorite poem by Henry Van Dyke, 'America for Me.':
Ethel will be remembered as a woman both stubbornly determined and fiercely independent. She had a zest for life coupled with a keen sense of humor, easily able to laugh at herself. She was classy, sassy and conveyed an imaginative sense of style. To soothe others, she often quoted Ephesians 3:5. Her favorite food choice—chocolate!!
Heartfelt thanks are extended to her special family of caregivers at Woodview, all those who attended to her when family was not present and at the end, Unity Hospice. A gathering to commemorate her extraordinary life on earth will take place at a later time.
Published in Door County Advocate on Sept. 11, 2013