Mildred Janet Schmitt Bean, 92, of Prosser, Washington, passed away on Wednesday, September 9, 2020. Mildred was born on February 28, 1928 to Lawrence and Alma Schmitt on a small farm in Missouri. The fourth of six children in the family, she was the first to graduate from high school. Mildred was married to Dale Everett Bean on August 18, 1951. She is survived by her husband of 69 years, Dale of Prosser, Washington, daughter Judy (Stan) Buttles of McKinney, Texas, son Wayne (Emily) Bean of Prosser, Washington, and daughter Joyce (Tom) Alsbury of Fall City, Washington. She is also survived by seven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
Several years ago, our Mom wrote a book about her life. It’s filled with memories of her childhood, her courtship with Dale, the joy of her children and grandchildren, and most of all her love for her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Mom was a story-teller, and as children we were mesmerized by her stories! She wasn’t born in a hospital, she was born in a “little black shack”. She was always a thin child, and the mile and a half walk to school and back caused her Uncle Wesley to say “I don’t see how those spindly legs can carry her all that distance to school!” She was a "depression child", and her dresses (she had two each year) were made of flour sack cloth. Shoes were only worn for school. Food was sometimes scarce; there was no electricity or running water in the house, and the bathroom was an outhouse.
Life on the farm provided a lot of farmyard stories. She told of tending to the family sheep and chasing off coyotes. Then there were the pigs and the excitement of butchering day. There was also the time when she and her siblings were hitched to the plow to turn the soil to plant potatoes. Luckily, the family was eventually able to purchase some horsepower to pull the plow! As children, we listened wide-eyed as she told of being chased by an angry bull and just barely making it over a fence before he caught her.
Mildred and her sister, Gerry, eventually left home and moved to Glasgow Montana. Their Uncle Wesley met them at the train station and proved to be a tremendous help to both girls. Later, Mom moved to Billings and was able to get a job with an Abstract company as a clerk and typist. When she moved to Washington, she went with a good recommendation, and within a week was hired by the General Electric Company in Richland. A promotion landed her a job at the Metallurgy section in the 300 area at Hanford. She was a fast, accurate typist and could take shorthand at 100 words per minute. In fact, when she quit the job to marry Dale, the company hired two secretaries to replace her!
While living in Richland, she met the love of her life, Dale. They both attended the Grandview Church of the Nazarene, and there they were married. Dale had a good job as the Benton County Road engineer, and the couple settled down in Prosser. As a family, our life always revolved around our church. Mom and Dad were charter members of the Prosser Church of the Nazarene, and whenever the doors were open we were there. Usually the first to arrive and the last to leave! Mom served in every capacity - Sunday school teacher, church treasurer, Sunday school superintendent, church board secretary, Vacation Bible school director, Nazarene missions president. During some years, we would find ourselves on Saturday evenings cleaning the church in preparation for the Sunday services. It was never a secret that Mom loved and lived her life for Jesus. She accepted Him as her personal Savior when she was 17 years old, and never wavered in her faith. As she worked around the house, she would sing the old hymns of the church - “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”, “What a Friend we have in Jesus”, “Amazing Grace”. Our home was filled with a knowledge of the saving grace of our Heavenly Father. Mom was an exceptional mother. She believed her children could do anything! School, sports, music - whatever we were interested in, she encouraged us and supported us and loved us no matter what. There were many times when she was overheard bragging about her children to anyone who would listen. Sometimes that was a little embarrassing, but it also gave us a warm feeling deep inside to know she was proud of us. The bragging extended to her grandchildren and her great grandchildren as the years went by. Mom sewed our clothes, baked absolutely delicious desserts, painted the house several times (one day we came home from school to find part of the living room and dining room painted a bright orange!), made the best Sunday roast beef dinners, had church friends over for food and games, tended huge vegetable gardens, canned and froze produce, made delicious bread, helped Dad design and have two houses built. She was an amazing woman! Mom and Dad had the kind of loving marriage that was sweet and kind and a wonderful example of what true love is. They seemed to agree on everything; on the rare occasions that they didn’t, Mom would provide her input and trust Dad to make the best decision. Mom always made sure Dad was taken care of; she fussed over him, constantly reached out for his hand, assured him of her love. They had just celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary, and although physically frail, their love was strong and steadfast. Wheelchair to wheelchair, Mom’s hand would reach out to find Dad’s. The very end of Mom’s book has the words to one of her favorite hymns. It tells of her faith in a loving God, of her assurance of heaven. Knowing she’s with Jesus, that we will see her again and have an eternity to be together fills us with peace and calm and hope!
“Some day the silver cords will break, and I no more as now shall sing,
But oh the joy when I shall wake, within the palace of the King.
And I shall see Him, face to face, and tell the story “saved by grace!”
And I shall see Him face to face, and tell the story - “saved by grace!"
Viewing and visitation will be held Saturday, September 26, 2020 from 9:30 am to 11:30 am followed by the Funeral Service at 11:30 am all at the Church of the Nazarene in Prosser, WA. Burial will follow at East Prosser Cemetery in Prosser, WA. Those wishing to sign Mildred’s online memorial book may do so at www.funeralhomesmith.com Smith Funeral Homes is in care of arrangements.
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