Marion Beatrice (Bea) Robinson Hogan completed her earthly journey on July 18, 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Born on November 12, 1918, in Andrews, NC, Marion Beatrice (Bea) Robinson Hogan arrived in a world ravaged by war and in the midst of a deadly flu epidemic. Her “Papa” joked that the world knew one day of peace, as Bea was born one day after the treaty to end World War I.
As the 8th of 9 children of William Edgar Robinson and Arie Dell Almond, Bea had four older sisters (Beryl Whit, Elizabeth Flowers-Hughes, Josephine Waldroup and Nannie Millsaps), three older brothers (Lewie Price, William Benjamin, Huey Decatur), and one younger brother (Shuford Edmond).
The tragic death of her father when Bea was 12 led to the loss of the family home, and until Bea graduated from Andrews High School she frequently found herself reliant on the generosity of others for a place to stay. Her hardships helped shape her personality as a positive, joyful, helpful, and trustworthy person who used humor and wit to both entertain others and to defuse uncomfortable situations.
After graduating high school, Bea attended the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. There she learned weaving and wood carving while practicing traditional arts, music, songs, and dance–the cultural heritage of European immigrants who settled in the Appalachians. Against this backdrop Bea met her future husband and lifelong companion, Frank Hogan, who worked at the Folk School. Upon seeing Bea for the first time, Frank reportedly declared, “That’s my wife, boys, if I ever get her!”
The couple made a home in Brasstown and worked at the Folk School, with Frank becoming farm manager and Bea weaving and finishing the wood carvings of local carpenters. Bea, now with two sons, Edmond and Jerry, also served as a “Home Extension Agent” and represented Cherokee County with a delegation that visited the United Nations in New York. People there came to recognize her as “North Carolina” and enjoyed her antics on the trip, such as raising an umbrella through the Lincoln Tunnel “in case it sprung a leak.”
In December 1954 Frank accepted what was to become a 25-year-career position as Maintenance Superintendent at YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly and relocated the family (and hunting dogs) to the conference center in Black Mountain, NC. Two years after arriving at Blue Ridge, the family welcomed a daughter into their home, Candas Beryl “Candy” – named after Frank’s and Bea’s oldest sisters. Bea initially found time to exhibit her weaving skills in the main lobby, weaving fabric for bags and clothing. The management of Blue Ridge soon discovered Bea’s versatility, however, and she was tasked to take leadership in most guest service areas including housekeeping (her passion), food service (not her passion), and training and supervising seasonal personnel for guest services.
In May of 1980, Bea and Frank returned “home” to Brasstown and were grateful for the support of extended family and the Little Brasstown Baptist Church community when they suffered the unexpected loss of their second son, Jerry on June 6, 1980. As Frank settled into his hobbies of hunting (including annual trips to Oregon with Bea), fishing, and golf, Bea returned to needle crafts and church ministries – especially the nursery. Their home became a gathering place; anyone could drop in at any time (and did!), unless Bea was away for her favorite hobby of all – extended stays with grandchildren!
On September 5, 2002, Bea lost her husband, companion, and friend, but she did not lose her joy. She continued to love and take joy in her faith, her family, and her friends. She traveled, attended senior events, and would readily drop everything else if there was a baby anywhere to hold. In Brasstown she was “Aunt Bea” to just about everyone. She loved game nights, hosting sleepovers for great-great-nieces, and teaching her latest creative projects to anyone who wanted to learn. She always looked forward to Christmas and kept in contact with people from all chapters of her life through her extensive Christmas card list.
Bea continued to live in Brasstown until 2017. When macular degeneration began to significantly impact her ability to live on her own, she made the decision to be “where the children are,” spending most of the next two years with her granddaughter’s family. Shortly before her 101st birthday she took residence in an assisted living community better equipped to meet her needs. The family is grateful to the staff of Elmcroft of Hendersonville, NC for the loving care she received.
Bea’s greatest contribution in life, no matter where she was, may well have been her impact on youth. She absolutely excelled at being an ‘aunt’ or a ‘granny’. For many she was their first (“and best”) boss. For others –especially before computers or cell phones, she provided a little touch of home, a listening ear, a guiding hand or, if requested, honest and forthright advice.
Bea is survived by her son Edmond and wife Kay of Taylors, SC and daughter Candy and husband Mike Sabato of Swannanoa, NC; five grandchildren; ten great-grandchildren; and innumerable nieces and nephews and their children and grandchildren whom she loved as her own. She will also be missed by friends around the world whose lives were impacted by hers.
The family expresses gratitude for the love you have shared. We look forward to celebrating Bea’s life with you at a time when we can safely gather. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to one of the following in her memory:
• Little Brasstown Baptist Church, P.O. Box 12, Brasstown, NC 28902.
• YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly, 84 Blue Ridge Circle, Black Mountain, NC 28711 (please check back here for additional information, including online donation information)
You may send tributes to the family at www.mem.com