By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer
Praying for friends and relatives is not an uncommon thing among those of the Catholic faith, and Stella Beaulieu certainly did her share.
A drive by Lawn Haven Gardens would reveal just how deep Beaulieu’s faith and compassion went.
“She (was) praying for the dead souls to get out of purgatory,” said Al Beaulieu, one of five sons she raised, mostly as a single parent. “That’s the kind of person she was. How many people would do that?”
Friends and relatives didn’t know anybody else like Beaulieu, who died Oct. 12 at the age of 80.
Born Dec. 18, 1926, in Lowell, Mass., Beaulieu came to Clovis in 1959 and worked as a registered nurse for 15 years. Her sons said whether it was working to support the family after she and her husband divorced, or helping with the Beaulieu Brothers family pawn shop, she was always there for support.
“When she wasn’t sick, she would come help us straighten out the store,” Al Beaulieu said. “We could come in at 9 o’clock (the next day) and she’d still be there. She’d help us do fixtures and remodel and things like that at the store.”
More often, though, she could be found at church. That was where Josie Shelly met her, and found they had a lot in common.
“She was a very religious and holy person, and she was funny too,” Shelly said, noting one Halloween where Beaulieu visited her as a hobo and Shelly needed a few minutes to recognize her friend.
“She was my best friend. I’m still mourning her (absence) right now.”
Al Beaulieu joked that keeping the boys out of trouble was work enough, but Roy Beaulieu said she managed to teach them character along the way.
“She always stood up for every one of us,” said Roy, who left the family business in 1996 to operate his own computer business. “I figured if she could have the strength to stand up for one of us, I should have that strength for myself.”
Stella was competitive in athletics, Al said, and always tried to keep up with her brothers in sports growing up. One of his favorite memories was watching the 1972 Munich Olympics with her. They made a promise to go to a future Olympics, but it never happened.
He regretted never living up to that agreement at first, but found solace.
“If praying and caring for other people were an Olympic event, she’d be a gold medal winner,” Al said. “I didn’t have any problem sleeping after (realizing) that.”
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