Beatrice L. MilesFebruary 06,2013
Beatrice L. Miles
Beatrice L. Miles
BARRE — Beatrice Letter Miles, formerly of Barre and Williamstown, Vt. — and known to friends and family as “Bea,” “Grammy Bea” and “Aunt Bub” — beloved mother, grand- and great-grandmother, sister and aunt, passed away peacefully at 101 years of age on Jan. 26, 2013, at Woodridge Nursing Home in Berlin, Vt., where she had been a resident for several months.
Beatrice Laura Letter was born in Barre on July 14, 1911, the seventh of 15 children born to Anna Therrien and Eugene Letter. After elementary school in Williamstown and two years at Spaulding High School in Barre, she went to work as a secretary/bookkeeper for her father and brothers at Letter Granite Co. Bea was praised in the workplace for her organizational skills and number-crunching ability, coupled with an affable personality.
In 1940, Bea married John Roswell Miles, of Graniteville, who was active in the Vermont granite/stone industry. A daughter (Judith Ann) was born in 1942 and a son (John Stewart) in 1945. After the war years, during part of which Bea and John worked for Sikorsky Aircraft in Connecticut, the Miles family lived at 30 Averill St. in Barre, and Bea lived there until moving to The Gardens at Williamstown Square in 2005. Bea and John were proud and active members of the St. Monica Parish. For decades, Bea was a member and supporter of Catholic Daughters of America, the charitable, benevolent and patriotic sorority for Catholic ladies.
In the mid-1950s, Bea and John established the John R. Miles Supply Co. Bea, as the company’s vice president, office head and bookkeeper, was her husband’s partner in the company’s operations and management until John’s death in 1980, when Bea assumed the reins. She teamed with John’s right-hand man, Charles A. “Charlie” Martin, who expanded operations and purchased the company, now operating as Miles Supply Inc., and serving the stone industry throughout the eastern U.S. Bea was also a dedicated member of the Barre Altrusa Club, the community service and leadership organization.
Bea loved to travel. In addition to business trips (including one to Germany with Charlie Martin to study the diamond blade industry), there were scores of visits throughout the U.S. and Canada over the years to catch up with friends and her/John’s siblings and families who had settled in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Chicago, Florida and California (to name a few). In the 1980s, Bea joined the Rev. (now Monsignor) Reid Mayo’s travel group, which took her on spectacular voyages to Israel, Lourdes and Italy. She raved about these educational and inspirational trips, as well as those to Switzerland and France with her grandchildren, and Ireland with her kids, for as long as she lived.
In her mid-40s, Bea took up the game of golf — which became her fondest avocation for the next 50 years. She was a member of the Barre Country Club, participating regularly in Ladies Day, and traveling with her “golf buddies” to State Day matches for as long as the Vermont weather allowed. And her golf clubs accompanied her on many trips to Cape Cod and Florida over the years.
Bea also liked to bowl. She and her only sister still remaining in Barre, Lorraine Clark, were members of Twin City Bowling’s “Coffee and Donuts League.” They christened their team “The Busy Bees” and bowled in the women’s league for many years — providing good entertainment and, even if there were no 300 games, some decent scores.
Her other sport was cross-country skiing, which she started late in life but couldn’t get enough of. Well into her 80s, she continued playing golf and card games with women decades younger than she was, who became her good friends.
Bea was also a music lover and began taking piano lessons at age 45. For the next 50 years, she entertained her family daily with pieces ranging from Mozart to Gershwin, keeping up with her lessons and practicing almost every day.
But family was her biggest passion of all. Bea was interested in people, was fun loving and was the first to volunteer. Although loving tradition, she was a modern woman in the way she combined her homemaking and business duties, finding time for a lot of grandparenting, as well as her many civic, church and sporting activities. For the last 40-plus years, she has been known in many circles simply as “Grammy Bea.” The Gardens in Williamstown welcomed Bea as a resident in 2005; her daughter, Judy, moved there in 2008; and her younger sister, Lorraine, also moved there in 2011. Bea’s remaining sibling, sister Jeannette, who turned 106 last Christmas, lives with her family in Chicago.
Bea is survived by her daughter, Judith; her son, John, and his wife, Thea; her three grandchildren, granddaughter Julie and husband Randy Allworth and their children, Sean, Aimee and Max, granddaughter Jennifer and husband Jay McDonald and their children, Mason, Braxton and Avery, and grandson David and wife Lisa and their daughter, Ryann Elizabeth; and her five step-grandchildren (Thea’s children) and families. She is also survived by her sisters, Jeannette and Lorraine; her sister-in-law, Margaret Foster; and dozens of nieces and nephews and their many children.
Bea’s Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated Saturday, June 8, 2013, at 10 a.m. in St. Monica Church in Barre, followed by interment in St. Monica Cemetery. There are no calling hours.
Contributions, in lieu of flowers, may be made in Bea’s memory to Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice (CVHHH), 600 Granger Road, Barre, VT 05641.
Arrangements are in the care of the Hooker and Whitcomb Funeral Home, 7 Academy St., Barre.
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