"Mrs. Bea," Broadway Chaperone for Miss Saigon, Dies; Celebration of Life Service Set for May

Obituaries   "Mrs. Bea," Broadway Chaperone for Miss Saigon, Dies; Celebration of Life Service Set for May
Mrs. Beatrice Louise Dickman Swarm, who was known as "Mrs. Bea" to the Broadway community for her years as a backstage chaperone with Miss Saigon, died Feb. 13, surrounded by her family at home. Mrs. Swarm, who was always elusive about the specifics of her age, was "no longer 79," as she liked to say.

Mrs. Bea
Mrs. Bea

When Miss Saigon opened on Broadway in 1991, Beatrice Louise Dickman Swarm became an educational consultant and backstage chaperone for the young children that played Tam and later arranged "Tamfest" celebrations and reunions. During the run of the show, she invited the entire company to seasonal gatherings; after the closing, reunions continued at Central Park's Hans Christian Andersen statue. "Mrs. Bea" later volunteered with BookPALS—Performing Artists for literacy in Schools.

In New York City, she also voluteered at the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office and was Past District President of the Unitarian Universalist District of Metropolitan New York. She had previously worked as Director of Religious Education and Programming at the Unitarian Church in Evanston, IL, and at the Unitarian Church of Summit, NJ. As a lifelong educator who was very active in child development, she created and operated Kindergarten House in her home in Decatur, IL, where she, along with her staff, provided private pre-kindergarten education. She also formed and directed the Youth Choir at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington-Normal, IL.

Born in Moline, IL, the daughter of the late Rev. William H. Dickman and Sarah Badley (MacArthur) Dickman, called New York City home for many years before recently moving to Waynesboro, PA. A graduate of Decatur High School in Decatur, IL, she later received her Bachelor of Arts in Early Education from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, IL, and her M.S. in Supervision of Teaching from Illinois State University in Normal, IL. She was a member of American Council of Education and completed the doctoral program studies at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.

Mrs. Bea is survived by two children, David Clarkson McJonathan-Swarm and SallyAnn Swarm; ten grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life service will be held May 22 at 7 PM in the Unitarian Church of All Souls, 1157 Lexington Ave. at 80th Street, New York City, NY. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: Actors Fund of America; UNICEF, 125 Maiden Lane, New York, NY 10038; or the charity of one's choice.

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