Bernice Dean Beckstead, age 102, passed away peacefully at her home on Friday, November 13, 2020. She was born on September 29, 1918 in American Fork, UT to Oscar James and Anna Louisa Sims Dean. She married Maurice Egbert Beckstead on June 26, 1936, and they settled in Riverton, UT. Their marriage was later solemnized in the Salt Lake Temple.
Bernice loved to socialize and laugh and had a beautiful smile. She enjoyed singing and as a young girl performed in Operettas. She worked hard, and her hands were always busy—plucking chickens, gardening, canning, quilting, caring for six children, and producing handwritten cookbooks while watching the Jazz, her favorite team. If it was a particularly good game, chances were that Bernice unwittingly deleted an ingredient or two from a recipe. Her renowned, uniquely one-of-a-kind cookbooks were once featured in a Salt Lake Tribune special interest story.
She loved to preserve the harvest from the beautiful garden she and Maurice cultivated together and was known for her chili sauce, pickles, dilly beans, salsa, beets, and relish. The grandkids loved to snack on the cherry tomatoes and carrots from the garden. Bernice and Maurice also raised a variety of animals including chickens, a pig or two, and Maurice’s baby calf.
A prolific quilter, Bernice’s quilts were treasured by family and friends and some were placed in orphanages in various parts of the world. She also taught many women and her granddaughter how to hand quilt. Bernice was a great cook and loved to prepare epic Christmas feasts for her children, grandchildren, and other invited guests every year.
Maurice experienced a gradual loss of sight and for years Bernice drove him to and from Fur Breeders so that he could continue providing for their family. Eventually, blindness replaced poor sight and an added Alzheimers diagnosis required even greater sacrifice and care which Bernice provided until his death on June 26,1986.
In her later years, Bernice was a regular at the Senior Center—often arriving early and staying late. She cherished her many friendships and loved to catch up on the news over morning tea and toast. She worked on the janitorial staff for a time, spent hours every year selling chances on quilts to raise money for the Center, and played a mean hand of Canasta if she wasn’t painting ceramics. Senior trips to Wendover required a batch of her homemade chocolate chip cookies for admittance on the bus and introduced her to the wonderful world of slot machines and a limitless shrimp buffet.
Bernice absolutely, unequivocally loved her home, and while she liked to get away briefly from time to time, there was literally no place like home. Any subtle hint or suggestion of relocating to a senior care facility was met with a stubborn refusal—and in the end this pint-sized little grandma won out and remained in her home until her death. This was made possible by many caring hands.
She was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and especially enjoyed serving in the Relief Society. Her ward family is especially kind and supportive and are very much appreciated by Bernice and her family.
Bernice is survived by four of her children, Dale (Gayle) of Malad, ID, Don (Rhea) of Riverton, UT, Jim (Patti) of Henderson, NV and Verla Richards of Phoenix, AZ, 16 grandchildren and a large posterity. She was preceded in death by her husband Maurice, infant son Dean, daughter Connie (Leonard) Smock, parents Oscar and Lou, nine siblings (infant brother, Reid, Hazel, Elwood, Lurena, Roland, Clifford, Darrell, Norma), and great-grandson Jared Lambert.
Services will be held at 11 am Thursday, November 19, 2020 at Anderson & Goff Mortuary (11859 S 700 E, Draper). Friends may call Wednesday, November 18 from 6-8 pm and one hour prior to the funeral services on Thursday, November 19 at 10 am. Interment will follow at the South Jordan City Cemetery. Please observe Covid-19 restrictions including masking and social distancing.
To participate in the funeral service via Zoom, copy and paste the following link in your browser: https://byui.zoom.us/j/5575388629 and follow the prompts.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Bernice (Dean) Beckstead, please visit our floral store.