The Austin College community is saddened by the death on March 15 of Bonnie Beardsley, assistant professor emerita of communication arts. She was 94.
A memorial service is planned for Saturday, May 20, at 2:00 p.m. in Wynne Chapel, with a reception to follow in the Beardsley Arena Theatre.
Mrs. Beardsley arrived at Austin College along with her husband, Paul, in 1950 when he joined the communication arts faculty. She served as an acting coach and worked closely with her husband on several programs before she joined the faculty in 1960 upon completing her undergraduate degree at Austin College.
She and her husband then worked together to produce and direct many plays and established arena theatre at the College. They also performed together in several duo-dramas. After Dr. Beardsley died suddenly in 1973, she continued her work in the department until retiring in 1984 when she took an artist-in-residence position at the College, further pursuing her interest in writing plays and other works. She once called playwright her favorite theatrical role.
She took a January Term class to Puebla, Mexico, in 1972 to perform the comedy Arsenic and Old Lace. The Arena Theater group had also toured other cities in the U.S.
Much beloved by her students and alumni, Mrs. Beardsley is memorialized at Austin College by the Bonnie Beardsley Green Room in Ida Green Communication Center and the Bonnie Beardsley Fellowship for an Outstanding Student in Communication Studies. For many years after her retirement, she attended Honors Convocation each year to meet the student receiving the fellowship.
At left, Mrs. Beardsley at the dedication of the Bonnie Beardsley Green Room in 1988, with Dr. Dan Setterberg, then the chairman of the Communication Arts Department.
Family visitation was held Friday, March 17, at Dannel Funeral Home from 6 to 8 p.m. The funeral was held at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on Saturday, March 18, at 2 p.m., with a reception following. Interment will be at a later date. A full obituary and a guestbook are available on the Dannel website.