Obituary of Beatrice Griswold
86, St Petersburg, FL, entered eternal life August 12, 2019 surrounded by family. Youngest of 7, Bea felt incredibly fortunate to grow up on a farm in her beloved Vermont. Her K-8 public education was in a one-room schoolhouse, Broad Brook School, in Sharon, VT. Graduate of Hartford High School, White River Jct, VT, she was an honor student, student body president, hosted Helen Keller, and an athlete. Bea was also a prolific reader, writer, and poet, with a deep love of music, piano, nature, Vermont's green mountains, and fall seasons. She never passed up a chance to dance (jitterbug her favorite). Bea's positive outlook on life, quick wit, compassion, acts of kindness, generosity, large family, and her ability to find the best in people, brought joy to family, students, friends, neighbors and colleagues.
Bea earned a BA Degree in Education from University of Vermont. Immediately after, Bea married Bill Griswold, her lifetime partner. Overseas, & through state-side Air Force Bases, Bea raised four children, taught school full-time, and pursued critical causes for public schools, the community, taught tolerance/all are created equal, & protected our democracy. She was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, her neighborhood association, the Pinellas County Democratic Executive Committee, and the St Petersburg Democratic Club (she created it & served as its 1st President in 1970), and she served on many City & County government committees.
Educator for 34 years, Bea taught in VT, MS, Okinawa, OK, and Pinellas County, FL (Cross-Bayou and Clearview Elementary Schools), while completing graduate studies. Bea served as Teachers' Rep, Assistant Principal, and then was elected President of the Pinellas County Teachers' Association (PCTA) for 2 terms. And she became a member of Board of Directors of the Florida Teaching Profession (FTP) of the National Education Association (NEA).
Upon retirement, Bea was elected to serve on the St Petersburg City Council for 2 terms (8 years), and was elected City Council Chairman for 2 terms. Among her achievements, Bea advanced the renaissance of St Pete through: Bay Walk; bringing the Rays to the City as a new major league baseball team; affordable housing; public parks; & resolving multi-county water source issues. Her County MPO role led to a new elevated Bayway bridge from the beaches to the City for emergency transportation needs. She also completed the US Veterans Memorial in Williams Park, an effort advanced by her husband during his 2 terms on City Council. Between them, Bea and Bill served 16 years on the City Council from 1984 to 2000, a family first for the city.
Beatrice was preceded in death by her parents, Maude L. & James Gates; husband, William J. Griswold; son, William J. Griswold, II; brother, Beecher J Gates (WWII); sisters: Elsie (William) Sides, Edna (Robert) Steward; and sisters-in-law Bette McClimon and Elaine Hill.
She is lovingly remembered by her three daughters: Deborah Griswold; Terri (Wade) Reynolds; and Colleen Ochs; her daughter-in-law, Diane Griswold; four grandchildren: Kelly (Samuel Fleischer) Reynolds; Taylor Reynolds; William J Griswold III; and Noah Ochs; her brothers, Thomas (Barbara) Gates (CT) and John (Marilyn) Gates (VT); her sister, Jean Brockway (VT); and nearly 100 nieces, nephews, great, and great, great nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life for Bea will be held at the Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home, at 2201 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. St North in St. Petersburg, FL 33704, on Saturday morning, September 7, 2019, with gathering at 10:00 am, and service at 11:00 am. Thereafter, she will rest in Broad Brook, VT.
In lieu of flowers, a kind act in support of public education would be greatly appreciated.
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