Beatrice (Bea) Vivian Graham was born February 8, 1915 to Hazen and Cecilia on the Flandreau Santee Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. She graduated from Flandreau Indian Boarding School when she was 18 and went on to attend Haskell Indian Vocational School for 2 years learning secretarial skills. Upon graduating in 1935, she got a job working for the Department of the Interior, Indian Service, Flandreau Indian School where she remained until 1942 when she moved to Sacaton, Arizona and began working for the Pima Indian Agency. In 1943 she moved to Washington, D.C. where she worked for various government agencies. She lived abroad for almost two years in Saigon, Vietnam, where she worked for the Office of Educational Services. Bea was working for The Agency for International Development to the Government of the United States in Washington, D.C. when she retired. She moved to Roswell, New Mexico where she resided for the next 30 years, making many life-long friends.
She was a thirty-year active member of the Imploded First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ Church. She was a devoted member of the Harmony Sunday School class and the Mary-Martha Group (which is active to this date) where lifelong friendships were made.
Bea’s mode of transportation was the City Transit. It was usual to see her patiently waiting at a North/South bus stop. Many of her church family would stop and offer her a ride.
In October 2003 she moved to Seattle to be closer to her family and lived at Boulevard Park Place Retirement Community. She remained active in her new community going on various outings (overnight mystery trips, bingo, casinos, lunches, dinners, and shopping). At 90 she took her last cruise from Seattle to Alaska and won the Captain’s Award. As her life went on, she needed more care and moved to El Dorado Assisted Living in October 2013. She enjoyed her new home and seeing old friends from Boulevard Park Place. She passed away peacefully on February 15, 2014, one week after her 99th birthday.
Bea lived life to the fullest. She loved to travel and take cruises. She traveled extensively with Giovanni Tours and at one time, was recognized by Giovanni, as one with the highest numbers of excursions under her belt. She loved her independence, she loved crosswords and bingo, she loved coffee and sweets (always counting calories), she loved her faith and she loved gathering with family and friends.
She is preceded in death by her sister Hazel F. Shopbell and she leaves behind many loving family and friends. A celebration of Bea’s life was held in Seattle on March 8, 2014.