Rose Beatrice “Bea” Gillooly of Ferguson MO died of Covid-19 on November 18, 2020 at the age of 98. She suffered from dementia the past few years, but she still knew and loved her family.
Bea was a woman ahead of her time, encouraged by her husband Dick (who was accomplished in the field of space exploration at McDonnell Douglas). Bea learned about the stock market and investing in a progressive women’s group after Dick opened a checking account in her name (at a time when women could not open accounts on their own). She was paid a salary to be a homemaker because her late husband also recognized that caregiving and housekeeping is a valuable service too often (still) uncompensated and unacknowledged.
Her obituary briefly attempts to summarize Bea’s fascinating life: “Bea’s two passions in life were traveling and reading. Beginning in 1968, and as often as she could, she traveled the world. She visited multiple countries on six continents, taking photos whenever possible. Reminiscing of those trips when viewing photos brought her great joy over the years. In her early St. Louis years, Bea joined a women’s book group and continued to meet monthly to discuss books, politics, and current events for over 50 years. In addition to raising 10 children, Bea was an active volunteer. She started a rental book system at Sts. John and James allowing families to pay a small annual fee to borrow books for the school year and not have to purchase new sets for their children each year. She was involved in The Experiment in International Living, allowing children and students from other countries to temporarily live with host families in the St. Louis area. She went on to become a board member of that group as well as a docent for the First Street Forum, a contemporary art gallery. She was also involved as a volunteer for the ScholarShop for many years.”
Even later in life, Bea was engaged and active volunteering and learning new things. She had an email address early on, and used the internet for research. Bea kept abreast of politics, voting in the 2016 election. She was a proud progressive Democrat and fan of Rachel Maddow.
Her family’s statement reads: “Many of her children would have been with her in the end if she hadn’t been isolated in a Covid 19 ward for her last two weeks. We hold the Trump administration directly responsible for robbing us of the opportunity of saying goodbye to our mother.”
Bea Gillooly is missed deeply by her nine surviving children, numerous grand and great grandchildren, her wide circle of friends and acquaintances, and the many people who she inspired and helped lift up.