Holly Beye
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Holly Beye WOODSTOCK - Holly Beye, 88, died Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011 at Ten Broeck Commons; where she has resided since Nov. 2004. Holly was born Feb. 27, 1922, in Iowa City, Iowa. She was the daughter of the late Howard and Ruth Kethcam Bee, and had called Woodstock her home since 1955. Ms. Beye was a graduate of Swarthmore College Magna Cum Laude, Class of 1943. She moved to New York City and became a reporter at PM, the left wing newspaper started by Marshall Field, although her intent was to write fiction, poetry and drama. In 1946, she married David Ruff and they lived at 120 Charles Street in Greenwhich Village, which became the title of her published journal of the life of a struggling artist in the 40's, published in 2006. In 1951 they moved to San Francisco, Calif. and became part of the "Beat Movement", which took shape at the time. Her early books of poetry were published there as well. In Woodstock, she saw a shift to dramatic work. Her plays appeared at the Woodstock Playhouse "Afternoon of the Spawn" 1961, La Galleria at Cafe La Mama in NYC "Clean" 1995, the Vandam Theatre in NYC "It's All Yours" 1963 and the Playhouse in San Francisco "The White Angel" 1965. At the same time she created a satire performing improv ensemble, initially called "Holly's COmets" Which enjoyed local and regional success and even went on tour a couple of times. It proved an outlet for a number of retired people to expression to their lives. In 1967 she received a graduate degree in library science from SUNY Albanyand became the librarian at the Woodstock Elementary School, engaging children to enjoy the written word. Ms. Beye worked tirelessly in the sixties for the Civil Rights movements, helping to organize protest and pickets in Kingston and throughout the area. She was predeceased by her former husband David Ruff, her longtime companion, David Collyer and a sister Ruth Shank. Surviving are two brothers; Charles Beye of Cambridge, Mass. and Cyrus Beye of N.D., two sisters; Barbara Lorie of Pittsboro, N.C., and Jane Boyd of San Diego, Calif. as well as nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be announced later in the summer by Lasher Funeral Home, Inc., 100 Tinker Street, Woodstock. Burial will be in the Artist Cemetery.


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Published in Daily Freeman from Jan. 8 to Jan. 9, 2011.
Memories & Condolences
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9 entries
February 2, 2011
Holly was a good friend of my mother's (Lucille Kalish), and was at our house in Woodstock for many visits. I most remember her laughter, her brightness and her irreverence. I am so sorry that we have lost her.
Evelyn Kalish
January 16, 2011
I am so sad to hear of Holly's passing from an old Woodstock friend. I directed a couple of Holly's plays and they are/were, like Holly, warm and generous with a funny, sharp wicked sense of humor. She was always, in her plays and her life, deeply committed to social causes (treatment of children, water). She had a fierce love for her home in Woodstock and her friends there. I offer sympathy to her family. I will miss her and am grateful for the short time we worked together.
Marcy Arlin
January 16, 2011
Holly was a wonderful poet, and the world has lost an important voice. I have been reading her work for 30 years, and I am as moved by it now as when I first encountered it in grad school. I send my condolences to her family and friends.
Robert Alexander
January 13, 2011
mom and Holly at Tenbrook
Holly was my mom's best friend for many years in Woodstock after my dad died and mom moved up there (Ethel Schissell) and they were in the Comets together. Holly was so important to my mom and then they drifted apart after we had to move my mom here a few years ago to WA and mom passed away last March. I keep thinking how they are acting together again now in heaven. ;)
Laura Schissell
January 12, 2011
I am so sorry to read this. Ms. Beye was my librarian for years (I was at Woodstock Elementary during the late 70's and early 80's). She really was an amazing person. She had us start a little newspaper called The Everything Magazine? She must have been secretly mortified that I wanted to write about the stock market, but she encouraged us all to follow our interests. I also remember how much she put into teaching us about February being black history month. I am thankful for knowing her.
Benjamin Schachter
January 12, 2011
Great Aunt Holly sent me a large box of books about 3 decades ago. That memory still brings shivers of pleasure. Her understanding of the written word and desire to share it helped foster my love affair with books. Thank you, Holly!!!
January 10, 2011
Holly was a dear friend. She brought much wisdom and laughter into my life. She was not afraid to speak up to power. I will try to follow your example, Holly. —with love, Lynda Crawford
January 10, 2011
Ms. Beye was instrumental in giving me a love for books and the organization of the library. I was her Library Aide at Bennett Elementary and loved her enthusiasm and spunk. I visited her last year in TenBroeck and was pleased to see she was just as spunky and interesting as I remembered even though struggling with her MS. I wish I had visited her more often. She will be missed.
JoAnn Bell
January 9, 2011
Holly was not only a talented artist, she fought for Civil Rights and promoted the contributions of women, the latter of which she wrote about in the "Ten Broeck News." I admired both her abilities and her fire.
Bonnie Langston
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