Ella Beedle, 96, of Hellertown Pennsylvania, passed away on Friday, February 7th. She died as she lived, peacefully and gracefully, surrounded by her loving family.

Born Ella Marie Grimes on September 15, 1923, in Portsmouth Virginia, she was the youngest of six children to her parents, Joshua and Ida. She grew up during the Great Depression in what she called a little house “up the Lane,” an unpaved road she described as “muddy when it rained and dusty when it didn’t.” She thought it was just about the best place in the world. Twelve other families lived on “the Lane,” most of them relatives.

Shortly before World War II, the government acquired the area that included her home in order to expand the nearby Norfolk Navy Yard. Ella eventually would become a telephone operator there, patching through calls to officers stationed there during the war. One of them was Lynn Beedle, a Navy officer and engineer who was testing the effects of explosions on United States warships. Lynn would always pick up calls that Ella patched through by answering, “Beedle speaking.” Those first innocent phone calls would lead to marriage after the war. For the rest of their life together, Ella never called her husband “Lynn.” He was always “Beedle.”

Throughout her childhood, Ella was always singing. During the war, she joined the USO and sang in shows for troops in barracks, parade grounds, and even on the decks of ships. She was also deeply devoted to, and comforted by, her faith. She sang in the church choir, often called upon to be a soloist during special services.

Growing up in the south and living in a strategic area during the Second World War had an enormous impact on Ella’s life, and by extension, those around her. She read countless books on the Civil War and World War II, examining the impact of those two great conflicts, and the minds who sought to bring them both to an end. She had a keen interest in politics, and the compromises necessary to achieve progress and fairness in society.

After the war, she moved north to Pennsylvania, where Lynn forged a career at Lehigh University. They eventually settled in a small house in Hellertown and started their family, and it remains the family home to this day-having been expanded and remodeled a number of times to accommodate its growth. And it is with her family that Ella’s endless love and energy shone the brightest.

An accomplished seamstress, she could make anything on a sewing machine, from hoop skirts to sundresses; from simple alterations to intricate original outfits. Even custom-made hockey jerseys for every player on her sons’ ice hockey teams.

It may be two annual events that capture Ella’s boundless love for her family. The first would be summer vacation in Nags Head, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where for more than forty years the entire family has gathered to enjoy the beach life that Ella loved so much. The other would be Christmas, where two annual functions would be the highlight of the season: a December Open House where family and friend of all ages and all backgrounds would come together to “celebrate a joyous holiday season,” and Christmas night, where the Beedle family would all gather, laughing and loving into the night, surrounding the woman who was, and always will be, the center and never-ending heartbeat of it all.

Ella is preceded in death by her husband, Lynn, and survived by her son, Lynn Jr., and wife Sandy, of Highlands, NJ; daughter Helen, of Hellertown; son Jonathan, and wife Karen, of Bethlehem; son David, and wife Laura, of Whitehall; and son Edward, of Kennett Square. She is also survived by nine grandchildren, Holly, Lynn III, Samantha, Hannah, Chelsea, Joshua, Maximilian, Evan, and Julie; and four great-grandchildren: Kaie, Phoenix, Liam, and Dylan.

A private Christian burial, under the arrangement of Heintzelman Funeral Home of Hellertown, will be held for the immediate family. Afterward, any and all family, friends, and loved ones are cordially invited to celebrate Ella’s life at an Open House at the Beedle home at 102 Cedar Road in Hellertown, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, February 12th, at 1:30 P.M.

The family asks that you please do not send flowers. Instead, please consider a contribution to your favorite charity, or an organization that reflects the qualities of our wonderful mother.
 
Published in Morning Call on Feb. 9, 2020
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