Sandys matriarch lived a richly fulfilled life’
(Alice Bean with her children, from left, Reginald Bean, LaVonne Bean, Milton Bean, Nelda Smith and R)
Alice Bean was a mother of six, grandmother of 17 and great-grandmother of 22, but she was considered family by many more who had no direct family link to her.
The “great mother and equally amazing grandmother”, who died last month at the age of 96, was said to be a loving, hard-working and God-fearing matriarch.
Ms Bean’s granddaughter, Michéla Outerbridge read the eulogy at her funeral, which highlighted Ms Bean’s dedication to her large family.
Ms Outerbridge said: “She loved every one of her six children, 17 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
“She adored them all, having a special relationship with each of them individually.
She added that Ms Bean’s love extended to “everyone and everything”.
“Her love for animals was endless and she adopted anything from people to dogs, cats, birds and even fish.
“It was routine for people to refer to her as Aunt Alice or Granny, even if they had no direct blood relation.”
She added: “Her big heart was contagious and she was a true light of God.”
Ms Outerbridge said Ms Bean’s family were “her pride and joy although these emotions were sometimes layered with tough love and sassiness”.
She said her grandmother was quick to provide her opinion “if you added a few pounds to your waistline and had the nerve to go see Alice after a long absence”.
“You could not even get mad at her because she was right and she delivered it with such charm that you literally could not take offence. That was the true essence of Alice.”
Ms Outerbridge said her grandmother always made time for family and friends.
“She found happiness in the gathering of loved ones and always made sure to serve you something to eat, whether it was a cooked meal or a simple snack.”
A gifted cook, Ms Bean hosted “the best Bermudian-styled holiday celebrations”.
Ms Bean grew up in the Hog Bay area of Sandys and attended Southampton Glebe School, but left at 13 to care for her mother.
At 21, she married Leon “Snooks” Bean, a keen horseman, and the couple were married for 42 years until he died in 1985.
They had six children — Nelda, Derek, Milton, Reginald, Randy and LaVonne.
Ms Bean also helped raise Ardine Robinson, her first cousin, who said she would be “eternally grateful” for the care and love Ms Bean showed her until the day she died.
Ms Outerbridge said Ms Bean’s love for her children “was pure, unconditional and everlasting”.
She added: “She was truly a great mother and an equally amazing grandmother.”
Ms Bean worked as a housekeeper and monitor, and counted the Salvation Army’s Home League and the Number One Bible Study Group of Allen Temple among her social circle.
She also volunteered for the Bermuda Red Cross and Meals on Wheels. Ms Outerbridge said: “Alice had an infectious spirit and her colleagues spoke very highly of her, describing her best as an affable character.
Ms Bean, who credited her long life to healthy farm living and a strong work ethic, had fond memories of exploring Bermuda before it was urbanised.
She frequently travelled between Somerset and St George’s by horse and buggy, the Bermuda Railway and rowboat.
Ms Outerbridge said: “She genuinely believed there was physical, mental and emotional value in experiencing the island’s natural offerings.”
Nelda Smith, Ms Bean’s eldest daughter, said her mother was also a “wonderful resource person for things past in Bermuda — family connections in particular”.
Ms Smith said: “I am convinced that the secret to her longevity was having to deal with a multi-generational family on a daily basis.
“Mom’s life was never dull — she had a richly fulfilled life.”
Ms Outerbridge added: “Alice would not want us to mourn with sadness, for she believed death was a natural part of life, and that there was joy in knowing that one’s soul is going home to the Saviour.
“Things will not be the same without her, but we must find comfort in knowing she is resting peacefully. We will miss her physical presence. But her legacy of love will live on in our hearts and minds eternally.”
Ms Bean was buried at St James’ Church in Sandys on July 3. She was taken to the cemetery in a horse-drawn hearse, as was her husband in 1985.
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