Early in 2019, Bebe asked to have another Christmas with all of her children in one place. They made it happen last month in San Diego. After a fun week with her children and their spouses, some grandchildren and sun, Bebe returned to Billings and, that first night, tucked into bed and went to see her Lord.
Beatrice June Spring passed away Dec. 31, 2019, of natural causes with family near. She was 88.
Born June 27, 1931, in Sheridan, Montana, to George and Ida Gemmell, Bebe was the youngest of five children. She is predeceased by her siblings Billy, Bobby, Betty and Bonnie. Anybody who knew Bebe also knew that, while she was vertically challenged, she faced numerous physical challenges with grit and determination. Her father died when she was 2 years old. She fell down a flight of stairs at home and contracted a bone disease that required her to spend years in a body cast followed by surgery in fifth grade and another year or so on a body board.
Despite these ills and living in a post-Depression, WWII era with rationing, Bebe described her upbringing in Sheridan as nearly idyllic, growing up among family, cousins and numerous friends in the small town. She allowed that, as the youngest, she was spoiled relative to the times. A self-described tomboy, Bebe had a job delivering newspapers, enjoyed sports and outdoor activities.
In high school, Bebe was editor of the school newspaper and worked at a local newspaper as well.
She met Jim Spring in Sheridan, dated him throughout high school and, after a short hiatus, married him in December 1953. They had saved enough money to enjoy a two-month honeymoon, which included a road trip to Southern California and the Rose Parade and then back to Fairbanks, Alaska, where Jim had a land surveying job. Nearly two years of cold and little sun proved enough for Bebe and Jim. So they returned to Montana, settling in Billings.
They joined the First Presbyterian Church soon after returning to Billings, and Bebe called it their church home for more than 60 years.
While Jim built a land surveying and civil engineering business, Bebe built a home with four children underfoot: Jim, Jeff, Janet and Joel. She and Jim made sure they knew right from wrong and the importance of helping others. A great cook and eager entertainer, Bebe created a warm, welcoming home even on the coldest winter days. She served as a deacon and on the church’s session. Bebe also served as a Stephens minister, providing an ear to those who needed someone to listen. She volunteered as a Pink Lady at the hospital, and helped her best friend Gail Frichtl as a host and supporter of the Miss Montana pageant. She was also a longtime member of P.E.O., Chapter AV.
Determined, loyal, caring and optimistic describe Beatrice June Spring. She often said she had lived a great life and lived most of it with the love of her life, Jim, and serving her Lord, Jesus.
Bebe is survived by Jim (Sherri), Jeff (Joanne), Janet (Marvin) and Joel (Lila), 11 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.
Memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 17, at First Presbyterian Church, 2420 13th St. West.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to P.E.O.’s scholarship fund or First Presbyterian Church.