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West Michigan philanthropist and education advocate Beatrice Idema has died

Beatrice "Bea" Idema
Grand Valley State University
Courtesy Photo
Beatrice "Bea" Idema

Life work included nursing, philanthropy and education advocacy

Beatice “Bea” Idema was an adventurer whose passion was learning.

She grew up on a dairy farm in Allendale and married William W. Idema of the Steelcase family in 1954. Together they travelled the world and “Bea” whose life work included nursing, philanthropy and education advocacy pursued community causes and projects focused in these areas. The list is long including John Ball Park Zoo, Millennium Park, St. Cecelia Music Society, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, Grand Rapids Art Museum and Grand Rapids Symphony to name but a few. Her love of nature and the environment reflected in her role developing the Grand River Greenway

Idema’s appetite for education is reflective in her commitments to Grand Valley State University. There she was the lead donor behind the construction of the Mary Idema Pew Library and Information Commons and Bea established a number of scholarships and endowments supporting students studying physics, criminal justice and nursing.

Beatrice “Bea” Idema was 99.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.