Beatrice Amy Gorman
March 23, 1935-January 10, 2017
Beatrice died peacefully after a long battle with cancer. She was preceded in death by her husband, John Gorman, Bea leaves behind her sisters, Tommy Lou Edwards and Anna June Bury, four children Kim Casey and husband Tom, Wendy Lagno, Johnny Gorman, and Jack Gorman and his husband, Kyle Peppers. In addition, she had six grandchildren and spouses and five great-grandchildren.
Bea was born and grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, (Strawberry Hill) with two brothers and six sisters. It was there where she met and married her childhood sweetheart, Johnny.
In 1956, they took baby Kim, packed up and moved to Colorado where they owned a grocery store/meat market.
Later they moved to South Lake Tahoe, California. Johnny was hired by Raley’s and Bea began working at the Tahoe Tribune newspaper where she started her desperate search to find out all she could about the horrible disease, early-onset familial Alzheimer’s. This rare form of Alzheimer’s disease plagued her family and took both of her brothers, two sisters, a niece and her mother, all in their early 50’s. It was there that Bea began the life long journey to find out more about the disease, and to research how extensive the disease had affected her family and ancestors. Just as important was her effort to see what was being done to cure it. The first time she went to a doctor to find out about the disease, the doctor read a one line description from a medical book, which was the extent of what was known about the disease. Bea formed a single small support group in Lake Tahoe to discuss the disease, and develop a support network for the care givers of those afflicted with Alzheimers. Nothing had existed to support the brave caregivers. The support group began to expand rapidly in the area and soon people would come from as far as Sacramento to attend and find out more about the same disease in their families. Bea also started contacting researchers and doctors from major institutions in the country searching for answers. Later, after daughter Kim had moved to Lodi, California, John heard of a new Raley’s opening there. Bea saw the need to add more support groups which had expanded to Sacramento and surrounding cities, and just never seem to stop growing. Johnny seized the opportunity to transfer to a Raley’s location in Lodi, which gave Bea the chance to start the nonprofit, Alzheimer’s Aid Society of Northern California, which provided support and information to families, caregivers, doctors and other medical personnel involved in the support needed for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
Her husband Johnny soon joined in the effort and the Alzheimer’s Aid Society expanded and grew through support groups, newsletters and educational talks and programs throughout Northern California. Bea authored a well read book “Will I Be Next” that was a life story of her family journey through early-onset, familial Alzheimer’s disease. She has been called a pioneer in gaining attention of Alzheimers, and for pushing the necessary research to begin understanding it. Bea and Johnny were asked to speak throughout the U.S. She was tireless in her efforts and said a prayer for the families of each of the thousands of newsletters she sent out several times a year. However, with age, failing health and John’s death a few years earlier, she could no longer continue this work; but her efforts and contributions have been a blessing for all the people she touched during her life.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 12 noon Saturday, February 25th, at the Wine and Rose’s Grand Ballroom, 2505 West Turner Rd, Lodi, California. A light lunch will be served. Please join us to celebrate Bea.
The family suggests donations, in lieu of flowers be made to the LOEL Senior Center 105 South Washington Street Lodi, CA. 95240 (209-369-1591)
Messages of remembrance can be left on the Cherokee Memorial Park website under obituaries and services.