Sept. 29, 1923 – Jan. 8, 2007
Beatrice Lelear, 83, died Monday in Sunnyvale, Calif.
Born in Dixonville, Pa., Bea came to faith in Jesus Christ during high school. Love of Jesus and service to the church were passions of her life. She graduated from Houghton Bible School in 1943 and was an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church. Known as ‘Aunt Bea’, for 35 years Bea specialized in children’s ministry, traveling throughout the eastern United States to lead Vacation Bible Schools and children’s camps. Bea worked at Thiel College in Greenville, Pa. for 16 years. From 1971 to 1987 she was Head Resident of Bowman Hall at Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University) where she mentored scores of students with spiritual and practical counsel. In 1998 the Lelears moved to California. She retained membership in Westview Wesleyan Church, Jonesboro, Ind. Bea was a leader in missions in The Wesleyan Church. For 10 years she was vice president of the Women’s Missionary Society for the Rochester (N.Y.) Conference of the Wesleyan Methodist Church and later served 4 years as missionary president for the Western Pennsylvania District. For 6 years she served on the executive committee of the Women’s Missionary Society for The Wesleyan Methodist Church, overseeing the Northeastern U.S. Bea and Henry also traveled to Haiti and Jamaica for short-term missionary service.
She is survived by her husband, Henry W. Lelear; daughter, Caroline Payne; son-in-law, Philip Payne, all of whom reside in Sunnyvale, Calif.; and a brother, Gerald, Houston, Texas.
She was preceded in death by a stepbrother, Harold, and a sister, Dorothy.
Memorial gifts in the name of Beatrice Lelear may be sent to Indiana Wesleyan University, Advancement Office, 4201 South Washington Street, Marion, Ind. 46953.
Originally published January 12, 2007