May 21, 1928 - April 20, 2014 BARBARA AMIDON BEALL, 85, cheerful to the last, died in the midst of the family she cherished at her home in Palos Verdes Estates April 20, 2014 Barbara's life of service encompassed an awesome reach from medical student to laboratory scientist, mother, Scout leader, art museum docent to elementary school volunteer. To participants with her through those passages she was Barbee, Amy, Barbara and finally Barbee again. Born May 21, 1928 in Cudahy, Wisconsin, Barbara, sister Helen and brother William (Billy) moved West with parents William and Helen (Vater) Amidon seeking work first in Oakland and Tacoma before settling in the Fauntleroy district of West Seattle. There and at West Seattle High School she was Amy, to family: Barbee. After Billy's WWII death in Europe she became the family's hope and enrolled at Whitman College graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a major in Mathematics in 1950. She was then accepted as one of the few female students in the 5th class of the University of Washington School of Medicine where she met Gildon Beall her future husband. Married in 1951, they recently celebrated 63 years together. Eschewing medicine, Barbara supported the pair in the early years of their union by working as a chemist at the Rainier Brewery in Seattle and then at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston while Gildon interned at Massachusetts Memorial Hospital where the first of their four children, Marie, was born. Will followed in Chitose, Japan after Gildon was assigned to the Air Force hospital there; Cliff and then Kathy arrived in Seattle after they returned to the US. The family moved to Los Angeles in 1960 and to Palos Verdes in 1968. At that time Barbara became active with the Girl Scout movement aiding mothers in Watts to establish and maintain a Troop. An avid hiker and camper, Barbara qualified as a Sierra Club leader and led trips with her children, Scouts and, ultimately, grandchildren. Her resolve to climb Mt. Rainier succeeded in 1979. Experience with the outdoors led to employment at REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc) for several years; work that was supplanted by her passion for art. As a docent at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art she researched and wrote tours thus teaching and inspiring thousands for over 30 years. Interested in African Art, she began accumulating masks that now form a distinguished collection from all parts of the world. Barbara's artistic ability was manifest both with the needle in creation of clothes and quilts and the brush with oil, water color and ink. Her thirst to serve unquenched, Barbara returned to Girl Scout leadership for several years with her granddaughters and after Gildon's retirement in 2001 she accompanied him and taught in many Asian and African countries. For the past 5 years as a teacher's aide she taught arithmetic to 2nd graders at the 15th St. School in San Pedro. Barbara is loved by her husband and four children: Marie Beall, of Santa Monica; William Beall, Santa Barbara: Clifford Beall, Columbus, Ohio; Kathryn Beall Kirk, of Chevy Chase, MD; their spouses and 7 grandchildren: Helen (Gruner) Laroche, Lizzy Gruner, Nicole (Beall) Banks, Ryan Beall, Gildon Kirk, Roger Kirk and Phoebe Beall. A Memorial service will be held 2 PM, May 18 at Neighborhood Church, 415 Paseo Del Mar, Palos Verdes Estates. Rather than sending flowers consider contributions in her memory to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art or LA Biomed.
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Published in the Los Angeles Times from Apr. 29 to May 7, 2014