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Beatrice Opal (Bea) Lilyblad, 91

Beatrice Opal “Bea” Lilyblad, 91, peacefully went to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on Oct. 27, 2017.

Beatrice (Hays) Lilyblad was born Oct. 16, 1926, in Leila Lake, Tex., a small farming community near Amarillo, where her parents were sharecroppers on a cotton farm. Bea attended a small one room country schoolhouse with a divider between the older and younger students. She remembers picking cotton to help pay for school clothes and chasing chickens into their coop before dust storms would hit.

At age 15 she moved with her parents and younger sister, Evelyn, to Careywood, Idaho, in a 1929 Model A pickup. Her nickname once in Idaho was “Tex” which stuck with her through adulthood.

Bea met the love of her life, Rupert “Bob” Lilyblad at age 16 in Sandpoint, Idaho. Bob was stationed at Farragut Naval Base and had just left the Panida Movie Theatre with a friend when he spotted Bea walking down the street with a friend. Bob whistled at her to get her attention and as they say, the rest is history! They wrote love letters while Bob was deployed in the Pacific aboard the USS LST 472 during WWll. After his ship was sunk during action he returned to Sandpoint to surprise Bea in her high school classroom and proposed, then they boarded a train for Thompson Falls, Mont., to be married.

They were married on Feb. 6, 1945. After a brief stay in San Francisco they settled in the Silver Valley near Kellogg where Bob was employed at the Bunker Hill Mine as a maintenance mechanic. They remained in the Silver Valley until 1977, when they moved to Coeur d’Alene.

Bea was a devoted wife and mother to their children, Kenneth and Sharon. She balanced her excellent homemaker skills (no one can surpass her molasses cookies!) with many activities involving the children’s sports, scouting, piano lessons and teaching Sunday School at their church.

Camping at the Oregon and Washington coast was a favorite yearly activity for many years along with going out on the lakes in their boat fishing. Bea was an outdoor enthusiast who loved camping and catching more fish than everyone else. Along with being the fish champ, Bea was also the Chinese Checker champ of the family. Bea and Bob were blessed with 62 wonderful years before Bob’s passing in 2007.

She will be greatly missed by all who knew her and will forever be remembered for her strong faith and love for her family. Bea enjoyed helping people, loved her pets and enjoyed tending flower gardens. Bea’s cheerfulness combined with her gift of encouragement touched many lives.

Bea is survived by her two children, Kenneth and Sharon; their spouses, Kathy and Chris; eight grandchildren, Cassie, Stephanie, Karen, Kenny, Danny, Tommy, Eric and Jenny; seventeen great grandchildren; sister, Evelyn Gruner and her husband Bill, who were Bea’s fishing partners and numerous nieces and nephews.

Bea was preceded in death by her husband, Bob; mother and father, Charley and Ruby Hays and grandson Aaron.

Viewing will be held Tuesday Oct. 31, 2017, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Yates Funeral Homes Coeur d’Alene chapel. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday Nov. 1, 2017, at Yates Funeral Homes, 744 North Fourth St., Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814. A graveside will follow at 2 p.m. at the Pinecrest Memorial Park in Sandpoint.

Yates Funeral Homes has been entrusted with the care of arrangements. Please visit Bea’s memorial and sign her online guestbook

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