Birdene Van Gundy
Birdene “Bea” Van Gundy, and the music of her life passed into God’s welcoming arms on Monday, December 17, 2012 at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, Normal, IL.
Her celebration of life will be 11:00 a.m., Saturday at Wesley United Methodist Church, Bloomington, with Rev. Vaughn Hoffman officiating. Burial will be private at Dawson Cemetery, rural Ellsworth, IL. Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Friday at Calvert & Metzler Memorial Home, Bloomington.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Wesley United Methodist Church or to a charity of the donor’s choice.
Bea was born October 3, 1913 at Pontiac, IL, the youngest of five children of John C. and Arletta M. Potter Barrett. She married William O. “Van” Van Gundy on September 18, 1932 at Pontiac, IL. Bea and Van lived at Madison, Ind., Jackson, Miss., Pontiac and Bloomington, IL, during their married life. Van died December 8, 1990.
Surviving are a daughter, Lauri Sawyer, Normal, IL, two grandchildren, Mark Sawyer, Dubai UAE and Koren Benoit, Folsom, Calif, three great grandchildren, Kelsey Alexandra Sawyer, Dallas, TX, Tucker Keith Benoit and Matt Elyot Benoit, Folsom, Calif., and numerous beloved nieces, nephews and cousins, all of whom she was very proud.
Her parents, son-in-law, Keith Sawyer, two brothers, Ermane and Vernee Barrett and two sisters, Thelma Nelson and Goldie Barry preceded her in death.
She attended Pontiac public schools, graduating from Pontiac High School.
Bea was a 58 year member of Wesley United Methodist Church, Bloomington, a 76 year member of Bloomington Chapter 50 Order of the Eastern Star. She had served as president of Kings Daughters, was a past president and 70 + year member of Twin City Homemakers Extension Assoc. She was a former member of the Madison, Ind., and Bloomington Crestwicke Country Clubs, had served as vice president of the parents association of Bloomington High School, and president of Alpha Phi Sorority Mothers Club at DePauw University, Greencastle, IN, where Lauri attended school.
She was selected Senior Queen of McLean County in a pageant in 1995 and won best award at the State Senior Pageant for piano. Bea played the piano by ear from age 4 until very recently for numerous organizations, nursing homes and at Von Maur’s.
She was known for modeling, narrating style shows, baking cookies and wedding cakes, and gardening. Her flower garden was featured in 2003 for the David Davis Garden tour.
Bea was quoted as saying, “With God’s help, I try to live life to the best of my ability. I believe in caring, sharing, compassion and kindness to all people, through sad and joyful days and my heart is most filled when doing for others.”
Bea was the center of a loving family that was blessed to hear and be a part of the music of her life. She will be missed forever.
The family extends a special thank you to Dr. Alex Crowe, Dr. James Vales, nurse Debbie and the staff of Sugar Creek Medical for their love and compassionate care through the years.