Faces Behind the Numbers: Beckey Hughes Lundholm
Madison Bateman remembers spending summers growing up at her grandma’s apartment in Springfield. After swimming for hours, Madison and her brother ate grilled cheese sandwiches prepared by their grandma Beckey Hughes Lundholm with loads of butter.
“That was our after swimming meal, I guess," said Madison. "But she would use white bread, which we didn’t have that at home, so that was like a treat kind of for me and my brother.”
Her grandma had a quirky side, Madison said, and never seemed to be in a bad mood. She remembers one time when they were in a car, and her grandma was driving.
“And she got to chatting with me and she just completely blew through a stop sign," said Madison, "and I was like, ‘Grandma, do you realize what you just did?' And she was like ‘what?’ ‘Like, you blew through a stop sign’ and she would go, ‘Oh, whoops.’ Any time she did something like that where everybody else was like, ‘Beckey, what did are you doing?’ and she was just like, 'oh, whoops.’ That was one of her favorite things to say it seemed like."
Madison misses her grandma’s quirkiness now – and everything else she loved about her.
Beckey Hughes Lundholm lost her life to COVID-19 on July 21, 2020. She was just 67.
Her daughter, Angela Hughes, said her mom was born in Chickasha, Oklahoma in her grandma’s house and the family soon moved to Kansas. Her senior year of high school, Beckey’s father got a job in Houston, Texas, and Angela says the move wasn't easy for her mom.
When Angela was in her 20s, her mother moved to Indonesia with her husband and her two sons. She later decided she wanted a slower pace of life, so she moved to Exeter, Missouri where a friend lived. Later, she would move to Tulsa and then back to southwest Missouri. But it was in Brownsville, Texas, where she was staying to take care of her father, that she got COVID-19 despite her best efforts to avoid it. Angela was visiting at the time and got it, too. So did her daughter, but she didn’t know it until she returned home. The illness nearly claimed her life, and it took Beckey's .
Wherever her mom lived, Angela said she had friends.
“When I was growing up, I remember she would go on church retreats with ladies, and she was always really well liked in the ladies group because she was really funny and she was the one to play the practical jokes and make all the fun stuff happen in the hotel rooms at these ladies' retreats,” Angela said.
Angela carries on that tradition now.
Growing up, she says life wasn’t always easy – her childhood had its ups and downs. But she knows her mom tried.
Angela is an artist –- she owns a photography studio, Artistic Photography in Springfield. Her mom had artistic talent, too.
“When I was younger, we would come home from school, and she could have painted a mural on our wall or, you know, rearrange -- the furniture was always rearranged, which I kind of took over that, too," said Angela, "so everything — she always was doing something and making something prettier. She could draw. I would call her an artist. She would have never have called herself an artist, but she was really, really good at drawing and painting.”
Her mom never had a lot, Angela said, but she gave the best gifts. She still treasures a homemade gift her mom gave her just before here daughter Madison was born.
“She made me, you know, those little photo albums like you get like from The Dollar Tree or something? Like they’re those just little cheap...well, this one was fancier because it had a metal, like, fancy...kind of cover. And she took napkins that were…the grouchy old lady like giving you a quote, you know, and those were some of the pictures in this album. But she then took colored paper and she wrote all of our family recipes in her handwriting and put them on the pages.”
Beckey had also added photos of herself holding a baby Angela, photos of Angela’s grandparents who she says practically raised her and provided a solid foundation for her-- and other special memories.
Angela, taking a cue from her mom, is working on similar recipe/memory books to give to her own kids this year.
She uses her experience to try to help others.
“I wish people would understand because I wish I would have understood, like, to not hang on to the negatives and don’t hold the grudges because I read her things and I’m like — she did the best she could, is what I realized now. And, I realize n ow her heart was so full of love and so wanting just forgiveness from different areas of her life.”
Beckey Hughes Lundholm was a wonderful grandma, according to her daughter. Madison has many happy memories of time spent with her grandma.
“She was the kind of grandma that was there for you no matter what and would drop everything in a heartbeat to be there for us grandkids.”
She said her grandma had a big personality and tended to be loud in public, which she used to find embarrassing, but she misses that now more than anything.