Beatrice Marie Novotny Hanley West, the daughter of Marie Kosour and Ferdinand Novotny, was born on January 3, 1926 in Havelock, Nebraska. On Friday, July 22, 2022 she cast off this crude matter and returned to luminous being. She died peacefully with her family present; she was 96 years old.
Bea lived an incredibly full life. She traveled across the Atlantic via ship twice before her tenth birthday. She spent her formative years in a tiny village in Czechoslovakia with her mother’s family before returning to the states at the outbreak of World War II, speaking no English. She always said her time in Moravia was what shaped her into the person she was. She was married twice. First, to William Hanley, with whom she had three children, and then to Gene West, with whom she enjoyed her golden years traveling extensively.
It was in her forties that her passion for painting really took off and she spent over fifty years developing her work and becoming a truly masterful porcelain and oil painter. Over the years, her home and the homes of her loved ones were filled with her beautiful pieces. In her later years, Bea also taught classes and cherished the time she was able to share her skills with others.
Bea was engaged in many charities during her life in both California and Oklahoma. She was a member of St. Paul’s episcopal church in Claremore, Oklahoma.
Bea is preceded in death by her beloved husband, Gene West, and by her daughter, Christine Bewley.
She is survived by her sons Philip and Mark Hanley, son-in-law Ralph Bewley, grandchildren Jeff Bewley and Jennifer, Kristen and Hannah Hanley, and two great-grandchildren, Henry and Lucy Bewley.
There will be a service for Bea at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Claremore, Oklahoma on August 20, 2022 at 11 AM.