Beatrice ‘Bea’ (Aldrich) Nelson
1944 - 2021
Curtis-Britch & Bouffard Funeral Home
Newport, VT
Beatrice 'Bea' (Aldrich) Nelson of Derby, passed
peacefully at her home surrounded by her loving family
on October 22, 2021, 1 week shy of her 77th Birthday.
Born up the hill from her own home on the Aldrich
family farm, Bea was raised at a young age after her
parents passed by a group of beloved Aunts. Being the
only girl, she was nicknamed "sister". During this time
she attended various schools and college achieving a
degree that led to a life-long passion of teaching. She
became a wealth of knowledge in family history and lore,
knowing not only of rural Livng in VT, but also of their
family heritage.
Bea was fascinated by nature, gardening, wild things
and loved feeding her birds and her 'chippees'. She
started her own studio called 'Bea's Hive', producing
custom paintings for clients, and signage for individuals
and businesses alike. She taught art lessons and started
'Derby Dabblers', teaching others to paint. Bea's love of
family ties led her to become the family genealogist and
researcher of local histories on both sides of the American
and Canadian border. Bea found herself working as a
consultant for many projects across northern VT. Her
willingness to share her knowledge won over many
people and opened as many doors. She was an accepted
Abenaki tribal member in western VT. She was an
active member of the Holland Historical Society, Lake
Memphremagog steering Committee and the Derby
Chamber of Commerce. She organized, with the help
of a few other people many non profit projects: The
'Intertribal Women's Hoop' which promoted Abenaki
awareness, family traditions, and strengthened the ties
that held a community together. They developed a craft
co-op that traveled to various pow wows and events, plus
they had the first Abenaki and Intertribal library for
adults and children. Bea developed, wrote, edited, and
produced a newsletter ( pre computer) that she mailed
out to subscribers eager for what she was producing.
Later as more people wanted to become involved, and
the Abenaki community were willing to be more visible,
the non profit became the 'Alnobak Nebesakiak ( or
Nebesak)'. She continued to host gatherings, travel with
several Drums to events and universities in both Canada
and New England, continuing to produce community
newsletters, calendars with original artwork, and also
a newsletter specifically for children called N'agizi.
With Beas stories and craft projects, the newsletters
became a much relied upon resource for many people
of all ages, and schoolteachers, who at that time was
just starting to teach about the Abenaki that were
(and are) in Vermont. She was invited to present at
various historical societies, colleges, elementary schools,
Coutts camp, Boy Scouts, and interviewed many times
for various projects. She co-authored several books:
"Around Lake Memphremagog" and "Holland Vermont
and it's Neighbors". Bea also authored articles for the
'Northland Journal'. Gregory Sharrow, folklorist of
the Vermont Folklife Center discussed a possibility of
whether a film could be produced featuring the Abenaki
people of Vermont. Bea, along with a close Abenaki
friend, developed and implemented a plan to involve as
many volunteer Abenaki as possible on a panel to do the
interviewing, and reviewing
This became a five year volunteer project, with both
a film and teacher guide being produced and available
to purchase at the Vermont Folklife Center, called '
the Abenaki in Vermont, a Living Culture'. Bea was
welcomed at many reserves in New England and in
Canada including Odanak, maintaining her contacts
to this day.
A few years later the Nebesak evolved into the
'Alnobak Heritage Preservation Center'. She worked
with the focus on bringing more awareness and a deeper
level of research and commitment towards the Abenaki
people. She became a consultant on such things as: State
Highway, Dam, Watershed projects including the Clyde
River/ Barton Village project, and the Connecticut River
project. She worked with Vermont State archeologists to
prevent destruction of potential Abenaki burial sites
and camping areas on their various projects. She was
a consultant, author, and contributing artist for the
Abenaki timeline in VT on permanent display at the
Emery Hebbard Federal building, the first plaque of
the Lake Memphremagog walkway as artist and author,
The Northern Forest and Canoe Trail project: supplying
them with artwork, maps, and plans recreating the
historical canoe waterways. Land Trusts: Bea believed
in saving Vermont's land for future generations, and
for the wildlife to thrive with care. After becoming a
member of Nulhegan-Coos Band of Abenaki, Bea was
thrilled to see the changes that were occurring within
the community and the State towards Abenaki culture.
Nulhegan- Coos Band of Abenaki became one of four
Vermont State recognized Abenaki bands. As a person
who was respected for her knowledge, she was honored to
have become a ceremonied Elder for Nulhegan, a lifetime
position. This was a high honor and her greatest pride~
Bea also continued her passions of painting, gardening,
researching, writing, and consulting. Two of her latest
projects, involved partnering with the Vermont Land
Trust at Bluffside Farms in Newport on both a Three
Sisters Garden', and their new entry bike trail wet lands
project and working with the Northwoods Stewardship
Center. Her greatest passion was her family. She would
drop everything if anyone stopped by, always had the
coffee pot on, cookies in the cookie jar and loved talking
out on her porch or at her kitchen table.
Bea was predeceased by her husband Roger Nelson
in 2019, brothers Bill and Jim (Joyce) Aldrich of Derby,
In-laws George(Janet) Nelson of Irasburg, Tom Nelson
of Albany, and Ruth Nelson of Washington State.
Bea is survived by her children Bill Nelson of Lyndon
and Rebecca ( John) Hardy of Derby; Grandchildren
Thomas (Kathleen) Hardy of Derby, John Curtis Hardy(
Morgan Blanchard) of Barton, Tessa and Cooper Nelson
of Lyndon; Great Grandson Colton Hardy of Derby;
brothers Robert ( Betty) Aldrich of Derby, and Dean (
Christie) Aldrich of Derby; several nieces, nephews, and
great nieces and great nephews plus many cousins.
Published by Newport Daily Express from Oct. 26 to Oct. 27, 2021.
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Funeral services provided by:
Curtis-Britch & Bouffard Funeral Home
Sponsored by Curtis-Britch & Bouffard Funeral Home.
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4 Entries
I was so saddened to hear of Bea's passing! She fought a courageous battle! We were childhood friends and had many good times in our scouting years and times spent at Aunt Ann's! She has quite the legacy left behind for someone ti carry on! May she rest in peace and now she joins the rest of her family and loving husband, Rodger!
October 28, 2021
We will miss you in physical form Bea but you will forever be with us in spirit. Safe travels my friend.
Chief Stevens
October 27, 2021
The heavens gained a beautiful sorry for your loss
Mary Place-Becker
October 27, 2021
To the Aldrich & Nelson families; my sincere condolences on the loss of your beloved Bea. We grew up as neighbors & interacted in different venues, like church & Girl Scouts as well as doing typical things in the small town of Derby Line. Spent many hours in the Aldrich home over the years. Bea was a talented artist who shared her creativity & an active community member who shared her knowledge with so many. Her interest in spreading the culture of the Abenaki reached far beyond the Northeast Kingdom. May you remember Bea with a smile on your face. Wonderful memories of an amazing woman. You will be sadly missed, but your legacy will live on. Respectfully, Jan Barber Caswell
Jan Barber Caswell
October 26, 2021
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