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 Katherine Beeman

Katherine Beeman

Boise, Ada County, Idaho, USA
Death 24 Mar 2011 (aged 30)
Burial Boise, Ada County, Idaho, USA
Memorial ID 67513237 · View Source
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Katherine Beeman, 30, left us as the sun set on Thursday, March 24, 2011 at Stanford University Hospital, following complications from neurosurgery related to a congenital condition. She was cradled in her mother's arms, and her room looked out on flowering cherry trees.

A memorial service will be held at Boise First Congregational UCC Church, 2201 Woodlawn Avenue, on Tuesday, March 29th at 10:30am.

Katherine was born Saturday, December 13, 1980, a dazzling, winter day in Boise. Every surface, every twig was covered with a white hoar frost. She joined longtime California and Idaho families. Her great-great-grandfather, Charles Marshall Hays (Hays street in Boise is named for him) was a member of the Constitutional Convention for the State of Idaho. Katherine's paternal grandparents, Joe and Helen Beeman, physicians in Boise, founded Treasure Valley Labs at the corner of 7th and Hays in the early 1950s. Her great-grandfather ran track at Stanford University and lived in a tent on campus following the 1906 earthquake. Her mother was among the first 50 women admitted to the Bar in Idaho.

Katherine was born with multiple handicaps but far exceeded expectations in every area of her life. Despite being told she could never learn to read, Katherine and her longtime caregiver, Ida Davis, diligently followed a developmental program that taught Katherine to read. Another of her caregivers, Shari Aldrich, taught Katherine to use a cell phone, which rapidly became one of her most prized possessions, and worked with her on gardening and craft projects. In the past year, Katherine became involved with the Special Olympics bowling program, where she practiced regularly at Nampa Bowl and even accessorized with a new Hello Kitty bowling bag. Katherine knew the verses to most of the Beatles songs, loved Elvis Presley, and sang along with the Lawrence Welk Show on Saturday nights.

Katherine "held court" at Boise First Congregational UCC Church on Sundays. She was the self-appointed greeter to every baby born into the congregation. For more than 15 years, Katherine was the angel who carried the star of Bethlehem for the children's Christmas pageant at First Congregational. In addition to her active church membership, Katherine volunteered at the childcare center at the Downtown YMCA.

While Katherine's roots were in Idaho, she also enjoyed traveling to far-flung destinations and made trips to New York, Canada (Toronto, Victoria), Washington, D.C., Yellowstone, Yosemite, Los Angeles and Disneyland over the years. In true Katherine style, she particularly loved Disneyland, where she cut to the front of every line and rode on It's a Small World to the point of exhaustion.

In 2006, after overcoming pneumonia, Katherine crossed the finish line of the New York City Marathon with her sister, Hillary Beeman. She wore her marathon medal proudly.

Katherine was frequently seen cruising around Boise in her hot pink wheelchair. She loved shopping and fashion, always scheming the next trip to The Boise Towne Square Mall. This past fall, she even cajoled a family friend into making a custom kimono for her 30th birthday from fabrics she had selected herself. Katherine enjoyed her regular manicures at Body and Soul in the Albertson's Marketplace and was a fixture at the neighboring Moxie Java, where she always ordered an Italian soda or a steamed milk with her step-father, Mike Gilmore, or her father, Kelly Beeman. Katherine attended Monroe Elementary School, McKinley Elementary School, West Junior High, and Borah High School.

In addition to her scholastic achievements, Katherine was asked to teach etiquette and manners to her fellow students in high school because of her natural graciousness. She graduated from Borah's Special Education Program in January 2002 and walked the line in the school's graduation ceremony that June with her beloved teacher, Minnie Ray. After high school graduation, Katherine attended programs at Diamond Development and Witco Development Center.

Katherine's life was full of friends and professionals who responded with wisdom and warmth. Katherine's pediatrician, Tom Cornwall, and his colleagues at Pediatric Associates, welcomed the complexity of Katherine's care. Her teachers at the Child Development Center and Boise Schools were kind and humorous.

Katherine was blessed with an innate vivacity and never saw herself as handicapped or a burden. She carried a sense of noblesse oblige and dignity, and caring for her was a privilege she bestowed on all. Behind the obvious educational and medical supports, Katherine's mother was the one person who made it all work. Josephine Beeman has said her secret was having her law practice, her home, and the hospital all within the same zip code. She coordinated all of Katherine's care and was her biggest advocate. Katherine's aunts, especially Christine Pickford, provided support beyond measure.

Katherine is survived by her mother, Josephine Pickford Beeman, her father, Kelly Ira Beeman, her step-father, Michael Stephen Gilmore, and her three sisters, Kimberly Beeman, Hillary Beeman, and Laura Elizabeth Pickford Gilmore.

Donations in Katherine's name may be made to L'Arche Nehalem, 435 SE 85th Ave, Portland, Ore., 97216, or to Witco Development Center, 3919 E. Ustick Road, Caldwell, Idaho 83605.

Published in Idaho Statesman on March 27, 2011




  • Created by: Barb
  • Added: 27 Mar 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 67513237
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Katherine Beeman (13 Dec 1980–24 Mar 2011), Find A Grave Memorial no. 67513237, citing Morris Hill Cemetery, Boise, Ada County, Idaho, USA ; Maintained by Barb (contributor 46936813) .