Beatrice Oster Axford was born Sept. 3, 1922 in Portland, Oregon, and passed to her rest on Feb. 24, in Sunnyside, Washington.
Bea's parents were Jacob Oster, a commercial sign painter and amateur magician; and Lillian Hewitt Oster, a nurse. Bea spent her childhood in the Hawthorne neighborhood of Portland, and graduated from Portland Union Academy in 1940. Betty, her childhood nickname, developed an early interest in music. At age seven, she began studying both piano and violin. By age 12, she joined the Portland Youth Orchestra, which was noted as the first youth orchestra in the nation. As a teenager, she often played her violin for church services and evangelistic meetings. She was the youngest violinist at the time to perform a solo live for The Quiet Hour, an early radio ministry of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
Bea met her future husband on a College Days' trip to Walla Walla College. It was warm that spring day, and Bea was struggling to open the window of the school bus. Bob Axford, a student from nearby Columbia Academy, was seated behind Bea and gallantly helped her open the window. Unfortunately, he ended up smashing her finger. Bea was scheduled to play her violin that evening in Columbia Auditorium for all the visiting academy students. She put her mom's nursing skills to good use, using hot and cold running water on her finger to reduce the swelling, which allowed her to perform that evening as if nothing had happened.
Bea received her B.A. Degree in music with an emphasis in violin performance from Walla Walla College. Bob and Bea were married in 1943. Bob entered medical school in 1944, attending the College of Medical Evangelists (now Loma Linda University). Bea put Bob through medical school on her teacher's salary, and Bob graduated debt-free. Bob practiced medicine in Havre, Montana, then moved to Washington State where he practiced in Brewster/Bridgeport, Prosser and Kennewick. Bea kept busy raising their three children, and giving violin and piano lessons.
Bea played first violin in Mid-Columbia Symphony for over forty years. She was active in the TOPS weight-loss group, RSVP, and the Women's Christian Temperance Union. She was a charter member of the Kennewick Seventh-Day Adventist Church. She finally retired from giving violin lessons at age 89, having taught for over 67 years.
She is survived by her children, Melody Schulte and husband David, Carolee Arslanian and husband John, David Axford and wife Debi, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
The graveside service will be Saturday, March 8, at 3 p.m. at Desert Lawn Memorial Park on the corner of W 10th Avenue and South Union Street in Kennewick. The memorial service will follow at 4 p.m. that day at the Kennewick Seventh-day Adventist Church, 7105 W 10th Ave.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Sonbridge Community Center, 1200 SE 12th Street, College Place, WA, 99324.
The family would like to thank the wonderful staff members of Just Like Home Assisted Living, Sunnyside Community Hospital, and Prestige Care and Rehabilitation in Sunnyside for the excellent care Mom received during her last month of life.
The family invites you to sign their online tribute wall at www.muellersfuneralhomes.com.