Beulah Rhodes Sorensen
Malad, Idaho. . . Bee was born Beulah Rhodes to Arza Adams Rhodes and Cossette Startup Rhodes, in Provo, Utah, on May 28, 1920. She was the oldest of five children and was ten years old when her father died. Her mother was from the candy-making Startup family in Provo, and Bee’s first paychecks came from working in their candy factory before she was twelve. She was also a very good student, and at the age of fifteen was keeping the books for the Provo Motor Parts Company, until she lost that job because she couldn’t drive. Her mother Cossette scrambled to support her family during the Depression, and Bee oversaw much of the care and feeding of her younger brothers and sisters. She learned to sew and make her own clothes, which she enjoyed doing throughout her life, and she was a voracious reader.
After graduating from Provo High School, where she was the smallest girl in her graduating class in 1938, she went to BYU. There she continued her excellence at academics while studying accounting and bookkeeping. She supported herself through secretarial work for BYU professors while living at home. During the second semester of her sophomore year, she had a political science class from Dr. Arthur Gaeth, in which she, as a Rhodes, sat next to Myron Sorensen, a freshman from Malad Idaho. He went on an LDS mission to the Eastern States Mission, based in New York City, and she went into a nursing program. In fact, Bee and her sister Maxine received two of the first three nursing degrees from the BYU program.
Upon Myron’s return from his mission and Bee’s graduation as a nurse, he and Bee were married in the Salt Lake Temple on Oct. 11, 1944, after which Myron immediately went into the Navy for the remainder of World War II. While Myron was stationed in the Pacific, their daughter Susan was born in Dec. 1945, the first of six children. When Myron’s term in the service was up, the young family moved to Malad, where Myron joined his father on the family farm in Arbon Valley. In the late 1940’s, Myron’s father retired, and Myron took over operation of the farm. The children kept coming, three boys and three girls in total. In addition to her nursing accreditation as an R.N., Bee finished her bachelor’s degree at BYU in 1950. Myron was active in LDS church life in Malad, serving as a bishop, teacher, high councilor and eventually in the stake presidency. Bee served in the church as well, usually as a teacher and in ward and stake Relief Society presidencies. As their children grew up and left for college and missions by the late 1970’s, Bee returned to nursing, working as the public health nurse in Malad for six years until 1983. She served on the board of the Malad Hospital during the time she was public health nurse and for several years after. After Myron was released as stake president, he and Bee worked as officiators in the Logan Temple from 1990 to 2006.
Bee was not born in Malad, but it was her home over the decades, and she could not long survive being parted from it. After moving from Malad this summer, she quickly succumbed to a variety of age-related illnesses, and she passed away in Pocatello on July 23, 2014 at the robust age of 94. She was unyielding in her commitment to the value of education and community, and she valued intelligence and a sense of humor in those who knew her well. Church and family were at the center of her life. The strength, resilience and affection in her 70-year partnership with Myron still make their marriage a model of equality and commitment to their descendants.
Bee is survived, not entirely happily, by her husband Myron Sorensen, now living in Pocatello; by her youngest sister Deaun Rhodes Burch (Moab, Utah) and her youngest brother James Rhodes (Kensington, California); by her six children, Susan Sorensen (Stephen) Baer (Pocatello, Idaho), Stephen (Janet) Sorensen (Pittsford, New York), Nicholai (Jayne) Sorensen (Piedmont, California), Sheila Sorensen (Aaron) Andreason (Lolo, Montana), Sheree Sorensen (James) Budge (Alexandria, Virginia) and Scott (Rose) Sorensen (Jamestown, North Carolina); and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held on Monday July 28, 2014 at 12 noon at the Malad Second Ward, 20 South 100 West in Malad. Friends may call at the church on Monday prior to services from 10:00-11:45 am. Burial will follow in the Malad City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in the name of Bee Sorensen be made to the LDS Temple Fund or Perpetual Education Fund.