My name is Rose Jacqueline Leigh Beem. To many, including my husband and love of my life Ike, I was “Rosie.” My wonderful students over 30 years of teaching preferred to call me “Mrs. Beem.” My three kids called me “Mom.” I was born on January 13, 1928, and raised by my parents Elizabeth (Beth) and Henry Webster (Web) Leigh in Cedar City, UT. My family was ranchers, and there was always food on the table and sense of security in the home despite the turbulent times of the Great Depression and World War II.
My interests in life developed early and were obviously from my mom Beth, and included music, dance, drama and teaching. I received a bachelor’s degree from The University of Utah in 1948 and then returned to Cedar City. It was there, in 1949 working at the El Escalante Hotel, that I noticed a very handsome and tall Gear Jammer. Looking very tired and thirsty after driving a Utah Parks Company bus all day, I treated him to a root beer float and the rest is history. Ike and I were married on August 15, 1950 and began our fantastic journey together.
I began my teaching career in Morgan, UT, but quickly moved to Pocatello, ID where I taught English for 35 years, spending most of my time at Highland High School. I earned a master’s degree from Idaho State University and ventured into 20 years of directing and choreographing the Highland High School Drill Team, otherwise known as the Lassies. I was passionate about the Lassies because participation in drill team provided aesthetic expression, self-discipline and physical fitness for young women that wasn’t otherwise available at that time.
I learned early on with Ike that adventure “outweighs” comfort when soon after marriage I noticed the piano in the living room was gone and a boat was in the driveway. That boat was named “Rosie 1.” So began the era of “hurry up and have fun,” and my water ski, snow ski and snowmobile adventures with Ike and the kids commenced.
Ike and I had three almost near-perfect kids – from eldest to youngest, Granger, Teresa and Leigh. I say near perfect because, as a teacher in their high school, I had each of my children in class. Without identifying names, one earned an “A,” one earned a “B,” and one earned a “C.” I will leave it up to family members to attach grades to names.
Ike and I would wake the kids up early, drive to Sun Valley, Jackson or Targhee, ski all day, and Ike would drive back while we all slept. In 1968 (after seeing an article in National Geographic), Ike and I took the kids and “Rosie 2” to Lake Powell. We spent a week camping on the beach and water skiing before any developed marinas existed. Exploring the Rainbow Bridge area and hiking up from the lake, Ike and I were not surprised to find Teresa leading a group of tired Boy Scouts down the trail.
Ike and I spent many memorable days on Hebgen Lake with “Rosie 3” skiing, fishing and relaxing at the Satterfield cabin. We traveled all over the west from Wind Rivers, to the Teton and Salt River Range, and over to Island Park for snowmobiling. Ike and I, and my brother-in-law Harold, hiked the Zion Narrows when we were all considered well-seasoned senior citizens and survived a flooded canyon for three days. Found later by a group of men, one asked if he could carry my pack to which I replied, “I have been carrying this pack for three days young man in water up to my neck and I will continue to carry my weight on this trip.” Sadly, I ruined my toenails for the rest of my life!
Ike and I had so many adventures with each other, whether it was digging out the snowmobiles to make it into the cabin on winter nights, snowmobiling the Continental Divide Trail in the Wind Rivers, towing Ike’s new snowmobile back after Leigh wrecked it while creek jumping in Island Park, or sneaking then underage Leigh into a Sun Valley night club to hear his brother Granger (and his band) perform a jaw-dropping drum solo of Santana’s Soul Sacrifice. Teresa led Ike and me over the big pond to the sights of Europe where the small town Idaho boy Ike temporarily went “walkabout” in Edinburg, Scotland; and then the kids sent us to Maui for our 50th wedding anniversary. Retirement provided us an opportunity to return to my roots of southern Utah. Ike and I enjoyed the warm desert air and sitting out at the “point” with friends as the lights of St. George twinkled below. Ike, my love of my life, was with me for 60 cherished years and passed in 2009.
I want to thank my friends that I have had the privilege to know – all of you provided me with friendship and support. Your friendship, compassion and unwavering assistance in my latter years were so thoughtful and touching. I made the journey back to Ike on January 16, 2020, with my children and friends by my side. I am now with my generation of family members who all preceded me, including my dad Web and younger brother Granger who I haven’t seen since 1952, my mom Beth, my brothers Dick and Ham, my sister Carmen, and their spouses Fern, Jean and Harold.
I am survived by my children Granger (Diane), Teresa, and Leigh (Cindy), and by my grandchildren Jarek, Niles and Jenny.
Friends and family are invited to the Celebration of Life on April 25, 2020 from 11a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1360 E Telegraph St #124, Washington, UT 84780.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the PC ALL, Inc. (parkcitylifelonglearning.org) or the Utah Down Syndrome Foundation (udsf.org).
Condolences may be shared at mcmillanmortuary.com