Obituary: Beatrice Bea Viola Vidakovich
June 24, 1923 – January 20, 2021
After a long illness, our beloved mother, Beatrice Vidakovich, passed away at home on January 20, 2021 with her daughter Peggy and sons Dick and Mike at her bedside.
Bea was born in Sopris, Colorado and attended Trinidad High School. Our uncle tells the story of Bea, as a high school student, driving the school bus from Bon Carbo to Trinidad, a trip of about 14 miles each way. Bon Carbo was a small mining camp and, this is where she would meet her future husband John “J.V.” Vidakovich who was a coal miner living in nearby Dix, another mining camp. Following marriage, the newlyweds headed to Quealey, Wyoming and later Reliance, where J.V. took a job working in the local coal mines. In Wyoming, Bea and JV raised 4 children and a step-son. Bea enjoyed the close-knit family activities in the coal camp, especially the weekend picnics and camping, going to Saturday night polka dances just down the road in Rock Springs, and watching J.V. play in the adult baseball league.
In 1954, the family moved to Glenwood Springs, and in the next few years, two more sons were born. Upon settling in Glenwood, Bea found a home away from home at the Eagles’ Club. She was an active member for many years in the ladies auxiliary, the fancy drill team, fund-raising dinners, bingo, the college scholarship committee, and pancake breakfasts. She served as the ladies’ club president for many years, and along with J.V., was awarded Mr. and Mrs. Eagle for their many contributions to the club. Bea enjoyed going to the Saturday night dances at the Eagles, especially when J.V. was playing the drums in the local band. Weekends in the summers were often devoted to picnics, camping, and fishing at Meadow Lake. Her selection as “Mother of the Year” for Glenwood Springs was celebrated by family and friends during the annual Strawberry Days Festivities and Parade.
Bea was also an avid bowler, participating in the local leagues at the old Glenwood Bowl, and traveling to several tournaments around the state with her team. She also qualified for national tournaments in Baltimore, Maryland and Niagara Falls, New York.
Board games and cards, especially marbles-or aggravation, as it is more commonly known, and pinochle were her favorites. She would play for hours with anyone she could coax to join her. Gambling was definitely in her blood and she enjoyed trips to Mesquite, Black Hawk and Cripple Creek.
Along with raising a family, Bea worked as the chief dispatcher in the sheriff’s office and enjoyed her business of selling Avon products. She also helped out with the camp cooking at her son in law’s (Rudy Steele) hunting camps. And, traveled to Louie Lake outside Lander, Wyoming to help her stepson at this resort.
One of Bea’s biggest enjoyments in life was attending her kids’ high school sporting events, especially when her sons were playing and coaching at Basalt and Glenwood Springs High Schools. Watching NBA basketball, the Utah Jazz specifically, was a passion. John Stockton and Coach Jerry Sloan were two of her all time favorites. A big treat was getting to see the Jazz play live against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center in 2001. Up to her final days, Bea’s dedication to the Jazz remained a constant.
Bea was preceded in death by her parents, John and Lillian Williams, her brother Jackie Williams, sister Agnes Williams, sister Dorothy Andrews and her husband J.V. She is survived by her brother, David Williams (Myrna), sister Joan Zumbrennen, daughters Jean Filson and Peg Vidakovich, and sons Tom (Marilyn), Jim, Dick and Mike. Bea has 9 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and 4 great, great grandchildren.
Bea’s absence leaves a great emptiness in our hearts. We miss you so much already, Mom. Rest in peace and we will all plan to meet again.
A celebration of Bea’s life will be held in the spring or early summer when it is safe for people to gather. In the meantime, to reflect Bea’s love of animals, donations can be made to any of the local animal shelters in Bea’s name.
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