Beatrice Marie Walters

Published 10:40 am Tuesday, September 5, 2023

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SAN ANTONIO, Florida – Beatrice Marie Borowski Walters (more affectionately known as Bea, Honey Childe, Mother, Mom, Mama, Grandma, and Grammy) 100, of San Antonio, Florida was born into eternal life on Tuesday, July 18, 2023. She passed peacefully at her home, surrounded by and in the hearts of her family.

Beatrice Marie Walters

Bea was born July 16, 1923, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Frank and Helen Apolonia Borowski. She was the last surviving of six siblings; Robert Frank Borowski, Dorothy Ann (Borowski) Steinbach, Arline L. (Borowski) Kordach, Grace Cecilia (Borowski) Jackowick and Richard Henry Borowski. They spoke German and English in the home.

She graduated from high school at a time when only 5.9% of the total population achieved a high school diploma or higher, according to the 1940 Census. After graduating high school in June 1941, she attended West Allis Vocational School, now known as Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) for 3.5 years in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she walked a mile to school, through blizzards – uphill, both ways. She worked at Howard John Bakery followed by International Harvester. At International Harvester she was a turret lathe operator, building parts for gyroscopes used in torpedoes in support of the war effort. In April 1945, she enlisted in the U.S. Army, completing basic training in Fort Des Moines, Iowa. Subsequent assignments were at Camp Atterbury, Indiana and Army Air Base Santa Ana, California. In the Army, she served in the medical corps as a member of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) in the American Theatre. She was one of over 150,000 American women who served in the Women’s Army Corps during WWII. Members of the WAC were the first women, other than nurses, to serve within the ranks of the United States Army. Eventually, she was stationed at Pratt General Hospital which had been converted for the war, as it was previously, the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida. Rest and relaxation excursions included a trip to Cuba. She was discharged from the Army June 15, 1947, after two years and 1-month active duty. She attained the grade of Tec 4 (Sergeant). She was awarded the WWII Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal and American Theatre Ribbon. Upon return to Milwaukee, she again worked for International Harvester in the Human Resources department.

On May 8, 1948 Beatrice Borowski married Robert Walters, Tampa, Florida in a joint ceremony with her sister Arline and Frank Kordash at St. Florian Catholic Church in West Allis, Wisconsin. They were married for 67 years prior to his death in 2015. During his 30-year career in the U.S. Coast Guard they relocated seven times, in the course of 23 years, while raising eight children. These transfers necessitated packing up the entire household, “kit and caboodle” and uprooting across the country to the next duty assignment. Residences during these assignments included Miami, Florida (1948), St. Petersburg, Florida (1949), Groton, Connecticut (1950), Coral Gables, Florida (1955), Boston, Massachusetts (1956), Elizabeth City, North Carolina (1962), Great Lakes, Illinois (1967). After retiring from the Coast Guard, they relocated to Elizabeth City, North Carolina (1971). A return to Florida came in 1972; relocating to “Gator Point” and “The Plantation”, Inverness, Florida eventually building the “Orange Castle” in San Antonio (1997).

Above all else, Beatrice was a devout Catholic and dedicated member of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, San Antonio. She received a framed Papal Apostolic Blessing from Pope Francis on the occasion of her 100th birthday.

Also, on her 100th birthday, she received birthday wishes in letters from President Joe Biden and Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis. Additionally, she received a framed copy of a speech given by Congressman Gus M. Bilirakis, on March 14, 2023 to the U.S. House of Representatives recognizing her “tireless contributions” to service. That speech is now part of the Congressional Record.

She could have taught a master’s class on being a mother and homemaker. She taught by example and was able to adapt to changing circumstances and locations. In her role as a mother, she performed other duties as do most mothers such as, chef, teacher, nurse, disciplinarian, chauffeur and changed hats as necessary. She was gentle, compassionate, resilient, tough, forgiving, encouraging and demanding. She has passed these traits on to the generations that follow her. She brought much good into the world and those around her.

Beatrice and Robert were the last surviving siblings of their generation in their respective families. She is survived and will be missed by her children: John Richard (Jean) Walters of Ivor, Virginia, Philomena Mary (William) Carr of Bertram, Texas, Patrick Howard (Sandra) Walters of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, Philip Thomas (Karen) Walters of Moorpark, California, Michael Francis (Noraida) Walters of Virginia Beach, James Edward (Deborah) Walters of Zephyrhills, Florida; two daughters-in-law: Carolyn Walters of Mission, Texas, Deborah Walters of Belleview, Florida; 17 grandchildren, 37 great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Lee Walters and two sons: Robert Lee Walters Jr. and Edward Joseph Walters.

She was very excited to reach her 100th birthday. The family thanks and expresses deep appreciation to the staff of Advent Hospital, Dade City and Gulfside Hospice for the care that helped her reach her goal. We (and she) also express a very special thank you to Dennis and Barbara Berberich for their caring love and support they provided throughout the time they knew “Bob and Bea.”

The family received friends for viewing on Sunday, Aug. 6 at the 301 Chapel of Hodges Family Funeral Home in Dade City. A funeral mass was held on Monday, Aug. 7 at Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in San Antonio. Burial followed at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell. A Rosary Service was prayed, prior to the funeral mass.

In lieu of flowers the family requested that donations be made to Holy Name Monastery, P.O. Box 2450, St. Leo, FL 33574.

See you later alligator….