In memoriam: Beulah (Askew) Montgomery (1920-2013)

Beulah Lucille AskewI received word this morning that my great-aunt, Beulah Lucille (Askew) Montgomery (“Bonnie” to friends, and “Boo” to family), died peacefully in her sleep last night. I only knew her from a distance, but from where I stood, she was a remarkable woman who led a remarkable life.

She was the oldest of the three Askew sisters, born and raised in Wadena, Minnesota. She married Lawrence R. “Monty” Montgomery in 1942, and she was the first of the Askew children to give her parents a grandchild. She and Monty raised two boys—Bob and Rich—and led exemplary lives distinguished by their hard work, generosity, charity, activity, creativity, and humility.

In this post, I’d like to share with you some photos of Boo taken throughout her life. Please share your memories of Boo by leaving a comment at the end of this post.

The earliest photo I have of Boo is this charming photo of her and her two sisters in overalls, taken around 1928, perhaps at their grandpa Scott’s house in Menahga (Boo is on the left):

1932 ?- _____

About four years later, around 1932, the three sisters again posed together (Boo is in the middle):

1932 ?- the three girls (8)

Clyde and Gert (her parents) liked to pose their five children together. Boo, as the middle child, always got the middle position:

1932 ?- big to little (1)


1932 ?- little to big (1)

Boo (front) on a play horse with an unknown boy and girl (perhaps her sister Mary):


The three sisters as teenagers (Boo in the middle):


The five siblings in their teenage years (Boo is at the lower left):

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On her wedding day, January 17, 1942, in Minneapolis, with her sisters as maids of honor:2012-11-03-025 (2)

Taken around the time of their wedding:

2011-11-27-019 (1)

I believe this was taken at their new home, shortly after they were married:

Boo & Monty

Boo and her son Bob with Boo’s father (Clyde) and grandfather (Wilfred Askew):

1943?- _____ (2)

Boo with her mother, brother, son, and an unknown man:


Boo holding her son Bob:


The five Askew children, reunited at their parents’ house in Oakland, California, with their parents Clyde and Gert (Boo is back right):

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Boo and Monty and their teenaged sons, Bob and Rich:

1954- Family portrait

Boo relaxing in her sister’s pool with her niece, Polly:

1965 ?- In the pool with Boo

Boo with her grand-niece, Jill, and her grand-nephew, Michael:

1979 ?- _____

Boo and Monty:


Boo and Monty and their children and grandchildren, taken around 1985:


Boo and her sister Harriet (Boo is on the right):

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Goodbye and farewell. May you rest in peace, Aunt Boo.

10 thoughts on “In memoriam: Beulah (Askew) Montgomery (1920-2013)

  1. I can’t stop thinking about what a great tribute you did for Boo. She was my favorite aunt and I loved my mother but always wanted to be like Boo. She handled everything that was thrown at her so well and still gave to others. Bob was in the iron lung and she would meet other patients and go to their houses and do their hair once a week to make them feel good.

    Whenever we were around we would call her the social director because she always had us going and seeing things that we wouldn’t have seen. She would pack us all in the car with a lunch and we would go to the zoo or the beach. My Dad would never do that and Mom didn’t drive. It seemed like Boo and Mom were always laughing which again was so different than home.

    She was the ultimate homemaker and mom that I always wanted to be. She was always fun and had such confidence in herself. She and Mom always looked pretty with their hair done and makeup and nails polished. The fifties homemaker, I guess. But my Mom had to go to work and the fun was gone unless we were with Boo again.

    I will always love her and try to be like “The Social Director” who made everyone so happy.

    P.S. The reason she was called Boo is because I couldn’t say Bonnie or Buelah. So she became Boo to all of us.

  2. Mike, what a great job in putting this together. Truly professional and very interesting. Thanks for kind remarks about my Mom.

  3. I am a friend of Bob Montgomery. My husband Ken & I knew Bonnie & Monty over the years & always enjoyed our times together. I will always remember her fondly and cherish those times. I know she is happy to be with Monty once again. She will be missed but the memories will linger. Katherine Rabello, California

  4. Polly mentioned this wonderful tribute to Bonnie to me on the phone and I kept forgetting to look it up because I’m old and my memory isn’t what it used to be by a long shot. But after I read it, I love that Michael is so adept, talented and motivated to spend his time doing these wonderful things for not only our family but many of his connected families. I couldn’t bring myself to comment properly because I just didn’t know what to say.

    Until now.

    There are so many memories of Bonnie.
    I have two things to contribute here about my beautiful Aunt Bonnie.

    For some reason, I am not to sure about, Polly and I were shipped off up north on a train by ourselves to stay with Bonnie and Monty. For two weeks. Sometime into the second week Rich and I put down the comics we were reading (Bob’s collection) and went to sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night and I didn’t know where I was but my Mom sure wasn’t anywhere around and I was hopelessly homesick. Bonnie heard me crying and came in and made everything okay and from that day forward she was my second Mom. And I have always loved her for that.

    The second thing was when Gin and I drove my Mom up to stay with Bonnie while we celebrated Gin’s birthday in San Francisco. We rolled into Bonnie’s place in the afternoon and dropped my Mom off and were ready to go over the bridge into the city to check into our hotel. Bonnie would not have any part of that. She made us (we are grown adults) go into her bedroom and lay down and take a nap before going over to the city. We protested, thats silly, we don’t need to nap in the middle of the day! She absolutely insisted and we could not persuade her otherwise. So we laid down on her bed with a blankie and slept like babies for a good hour or so. She couldn’t have been more right and I don’t think there could have been anyone else in the world that could have made us do that. She was a very persuasive and powerfull woman. She will always be in our thoughts. Love you Aunt Boo.

  5. This is really wonderful. I did not know of Buelah’s passing until now. I remember her as a beautiful and loving person. She made you feel special with her lovely smile and manner.
    As a child she and Harriet seemed like movie stars to me.

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