Billie Lucille Kesterson Bodermann(1917 - 2013)

Billie Lucille
Kesterson Bodermann

Longtime resident of Long Beach, Billie Lucille Kesterson Bodermann, passed away November 3, 2013 at her sons Las Vegas home where she had lived the past two years. To celebrate her 96 years of life, my brother and I want to share her story. Born July 16, 1917 in Mullinville, Kansas, the family moved to Long Beach for its recuperative climate. When her mother passed away in 1922, Billie was raised by her loving father, William Kesterson, and her paternal grandmother, Molly Mary Jane Pinkston Kesterson. Little Billie and her grandmother often took a day-long promotional excursion by motor coach through Naples and Belmont Shore when the area was just sand dunes. She was grateful for growing up in Long Beach as it had the best breakers along the coast plus it was free entertainment during The Depression When the 1933 earthquake hit Billie was at home on the second floor. She described the stairs moving like in a fun house. As she ran downstairs the heels of her oxfords were torn off. Billie, Lucille to many of her classmates, attended Poly High, but graduated from Wilson High after attending her final classes in tents following the earthquake. In 1938 Billie married her childhood sweetheart, Paul Bodermann, in a garden ceremony at La Venta Inn in Palos Verdes overlooking the Santa Monica Bay. Paul and Billie had known each other as children. He remarked that she had skated so fast her black hair flowed straight out behind her. In high school Billie worked in the cafeteria and always saved Paul the biggest piece of pie. During World War II Billie worked as a draftswoman for Shell Oil, grew a Victory Garden, and canned. Paul would come home to Long Beach on weekend passes from the naval base in San Diego. Shortly thereafter Billie gave birth to their son Robert Paul Bodermann, Jr. In 1949 the family moved to Harbor City, purchased a home, had a daughter named Christina, and started pursuing the American Dream. Paul worked for the city of Long Beach in the oil properties department focusing on off-shore drilling while Billie enjoyed creating a beautiful home and supporting her children's and husband's activities. She loved to play cards and often hosted bridge parties. Billie and Paul moved back to Long Beach when the kids went off to college. Billie worked at Bixby Knolls Towers in billing and at the Riviera Building for HUD housing. She was active in Eastern Star and enjoyed golfing weekly with long-time friends. After the death of her beloved husband Billie moved to Laguna Niguel near her daughter. She had quite an active social life playing cards and mah jong several times a week. She was also active in her community association. This woman was still going strong at 90 when she signed a three year car lease. She loved to shop and as long as she had a cart to hold on to she could go for hours. Billie aged with dignity and grace. She was a very organized person, resilient, supportive, and beautiful. Her friendship and loving care will be greatly missed by her children and friends. Please sign the guestbook at

Published in the Long Beach Press-Telegram on Nov. 24, 2013