Bethany Kay Bereman (1961 - 2011)

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Bethany Kay Bereman, 50, died on April 17th, 2011, of ovarian cancer on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Bethany was born February 18, 1961 in Cody, Wyoming to John and Donna Bereman. Family legend has it that Bethany sang before she talked and was often found crooning the song "Blue Velvet'' in her crib. She attended Cottey College, in Missouri, and Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, graduating from APU in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in communications. She went on to study acting in the professional training program at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.

Bethany moved to Juneau in 1985 to work in Perseverance Theatre's Lady Lou Review, and falling in love with Southeast Alaska and its many multi-talented people, she decided to stay. During the 22 years she lived in Juneau she performed in many shows with Perseverance Theatre, Juneau Douglas Little Theater, Juneau Lyric Opera and Theater in the Rough.

When she wasn't acting or singing Bethany enjoyed the wilderness of SE Alaska. Always taking full advantage of her environment, she worked summers as a wilderness kayak guide and manager for Alaska Discovery and winters as a pro ski-patroller at Eaglecrest.

In the late 1990's Bethany decided to go back to school. Not one to do things halfway, she jumped in with both feet-- taking on the role of drama teacher at Juneau Douglas High School while also completing a masters of arts degree in Theatre Production. Never failing to bring energy and laughter into all her classes, she educated, inspired, and befriended countless students. Her classroom became a haven for all comers-with open arms, she welcomed any student who was motivated to learn and collaborate. She also welcomed many other professional theatre artists at JDHS. Whether she was producing a play or teaching Acting, Improvisation, or Dance, Bethany's theatre department was always alive with her infectious positivity and wicked sense of humor.

In 2006, John Hickey literally danced into her life. Within a year the two had gotten married, moved to Hawaii with John's job, adopted Susu from China, and settled with delight into their new family. They were very thankful to have the years together that they did.

Bethany is survived by her husband, Captain John Hickey, her four year old daughter Jade Lin "Susu" Bereman, her father and stepmother John and Sandra Bereman, her stepfather Frank Cordiner, her siblings Kara Bereman, Becky Bereman Grimes, Hubert Bereman, Michael Bereman, Taimi Kuiva and Inge Kuiva Lockwood and her nephews Cole and Taylor Powell. She is preceded in death by her mother, Donna Mae Gewecke and her sister Bobbee Bereman Powell.

Bethany was a role model to her friends, family and students throughout her life as she worked with endless energy and enthusiasm to accomplish all of her dreams: to be a mother, a wife, a friend, an artist, a teacher, an adventurer, and a guide. As a mother she showed Susu all the joy and love that life can contain, as a wife she and John looked at the world through heart-spangled glasses, and as a friend she listened, laughed and cried with us when she was needed.

To a friend we will never forget.

A celebration of Bethany's life will be held in Juneau in May.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to a memorial garden can be made by calling Bainbridge Gardens at 206.842.5888, or donations can be made to Hospice of Kitsap County at 570 Lebo Blvd, Bremerton, WA 98310.
Published in The Juneau Empire from Apr. 21 to Apr. 30, 2011