Beverly Burgetta Riordan, 89, passed away on Sunday, February 24, 2019, in Spokane, Washington. She was born on April 15, 1929, in Bismarck, North Dakota, to Frank and Ann (Johnson) Gabel. Beverly graduated from Stadium High School in Tacoma, Washington.
Beverly met Jerome Riordan and they married in 1950 in Spokane. Together they had five children. Beverly is survived by her children, Angie Speziale of Cheney, Steven Riordan of Renton, Kathleen Alexander of Spokane, Lisa Eirls of Spokane, and Patrick Riordan of Spokane Valley; sister Marilyn Hoerner of Spokane; 17 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.
A funeral mass will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, 2019, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 1503 W Dean Ave, Spokane, WA 99201. Please share memories of Beverly in her guestbook.
As a tribute to Beverly, her daughters Lisa and Angie share some things that their mother is most lovingly known for:
She enjoyed dad’s quirky sense of humor and snickered at his ways. We all knew she loved us too. I still remember her calling me sweetheart. Cause dad liked to sleep in a bit longer, mom would get up early and put the coffee on, and then fix dad some breakfast. She and dad would sit at the kitchen table working on the daily newspaper Jumble puzzle, and make plans for the day’s events.
Mom loved her bird community. Granddaughter Jennifer remembers mom sitting on either porch and talking about the birds like they were extended family. She always had the bird houses taken down every year and cleaned out, ready for the next new family to inhabit. Also, they got painted every few years to keep them looking pretty.
Jennifer also remembered mom teaching her how to sew matching summer outfits for Aaron and his stuffed monkey – “Punky”.
While a new apprentice as a pressman, dad had to work nights until about 1968 or so. During that time, mom was a nighttime widow. She couldn’t go out with friends or go anywhere. She had kids that needed dinner, baths, and getting homework done, not to mention dog duty.
When dad went through a botched stomach surgery, he couldn’t eat anything but small portions- far apart. So mom would make him whatever food or drink he wanted, whenever he wanted it. Dad always credited her for keeping him alive. Also, when dad was rear-ended by a man drinking on his lunch hour, he had gotten a whiplash, permanent double vision in one eye, and crippling migraines for at least a year. For that length of time, he gave up his driver’s license, and had to depend on my sometimes unreliable siblings to pick him up from work.
When he got home, he would sit in a dark room holding his head, and moaning for hours. That took a great emotional toll on our mom – watching someone she loved in such pain and distress. She also had to keep us kids quiet as well.
Mom spent countless hours driving us kids back and forth to Catholic school. She also coached Angs’ school basketball, softball, and volleyball teams for at least 2 years.
Mom loved to read and would go to the library about twice weekly. She loved romance novels and happened to be a fast reader.
With 5 growing kids – how could she have missed taking care of us when we got chickenpox, German and Red measles, and mumps? Our brother also had really bad asthma, and was in and out of the hospital quite a bit – and nearly died a few times. But because of mom’s diligence, and loving care, he came out of it without any of the long-term consequences he could have had.
When I was sick and Aaron was 6 days old, mom fed and watched him for me – so I could get some much needed sleep. When I woke up, she made me this awesome Norwegian farina to eat. I often think back on that most cherished memory.
Mom could whip up a meal in no time – from almost nothing at all. She also specially made me my homemade applesauce. I loved it so much!! She liked soups, and once had a vegetable garden. She’s also remembered for teaching her two sons how to cook, so they could fend for themselves. Grandson Aaron got hooked on farina on a plate – with butter & cinnamon sugar on it. He fixes it for his kids nowadays. Aaron also taught mom and dad how to play cribbage, and mom loved to play scrabble with dad.
Once we put on a yard carnival, and mom made up little bags of popcorn, and even homemade suckers to sell. She was also in charge of St. Josephs’ school carnival and did all the hard work it involved.
During a difficult time in my life, mom and dad used to take my kids to allow them stress relief. They got to take things apart in grampa’s workshop, help nan cook, go to estate sales, grocery shopping and hang out with their steadfast and funny grandparents. Mom and dad taught them to respect their elders, and things an older generation could teach them. They were kept busy with chores, and were taken to the local swimming pool; they also played board games. Mom and dad took them camping to the Oregon coast. They had a blast! They are memories that every kid could have for a lifetime – and use raising their families – paying it forward as it were.
Mom sewed and made prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses for Angs’ wedding, and made Kaths’ beautiful wedding gown. She crocheted Chris’s baby blanket that Aaron loved for at least 3 years. And she made a yellow shirt with red and blue stars for Aaron. It was his most prized possession.
Mom’s sister Marilyn said she always loved mom’s beautiful smile, and uncle Roy said mom was good at being friends with everybody.
These next few things are from cards that dad gave mom. “Love to my wife from her boyfriend. These 7 years have been the happiest of my life, only because I met you. You made me eat gravy, pick up part of my clothes, eat vegetables, wear a new type of glasses, etc. But I love you for it all. Thanks for everything, Sweetheart.”
“Dear Bev, without you our home would just be a house. With your love and care you have made our lovely family what it is today. You are the heart of our home, and our hearts go out to you on Mother’s Day today.”
It’s always good to be raised by a strong woman, and to learn from her example on how to be independent, and to believe in yourself regardless of what people think or say. We 3 girls learned that well, and I will never take that for granted, as I passed that on to my daughter, and so did my sisters – with their daughters.
We wanted to give a heartfelt shout out to my parents’ caregivers they had at their home – Essy, Kristy, Mary, Keimi, Shannon, Emma, and so many others. Also to the wonderful roommate my mom had for about 2 months before her passing. Pat made her time a gift. They talked, laughed, ate, and watched t.v. together, and mom perked up because of it. Our family will be forever grateful for this awesome lady.
We’re all comforted by the fact that mom is with our dad again, his and her parents, and her friends such as Rita and Joyce. We’ll miss her every day, but we know we’ll see her again at another time.
Love & miss you both Mom and Dad.