Sunday, September 27, 1925
Date of Death:
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
93 years old
Mary Catherine (Miller) Boyum, known to many longtime Rochesterites as “Mary Bea,” Rochester’s first female on-air TV personality, passed away peacefully on December 18, 2018, with her daughter and caregiver by her side. She was 93 years old.
Mary was born September 27, 1925 in Rochester, MN to Katherine and John McGannon Miller, and attended St. John’s Elementary School before her family enrolled her in the Villa Maria Academy in Frontenac, MN to finish her education away from her three rough-and-tumble older brothers.
Years before a fictional Mary Richards showed the world what a spunky young woman could contribute to a Minnesota television station, Mary Miller — armed with her academy high school diploma and a radio engineering license from the American Institute of Air in Minneapolis — started her career at KROC radio behind the scenes, and eventually made it on-air. In 1953 when KROC-TV (now KTTC) became the first television station to launch in Southern Minnesota, Mary was among the first radio broadcasters to make the transition to TV. In a KROC career that lasted 25 years, Mary expanded her program “Memos from Mary Bea” from a short segment for women between game shows and soap operas to a widely watched community interest program during which she covered anything and anybody she found fascinating in the rapidly growing city of Rochester.
Mary’s can-do spirit propelled her into additional careers after leaving television: 18 years as the Functions Supervisor at the Kahler Hotel, followed by an 11-year, part-time retirement job at the Red Lobster restaurant.
Mary forged many close friendships through work. Some friends were lucky enough to join Mary and her family at their dinner table to share Mary’s famous marinated hickory steak and hash browns. Others shared Mary’s passions for bingo and sports, and her deep love for fishing the streams and lakes of Minnesota. Along with fishing, Mary loved dancing and listening to Big Band music. Her appreciation for music continued throughout her life into her later years and brought her comfort and solace on weekend drives to Red Wing with her daughter Libby.
Mary is survived by her daughter, Libby (Ed) Martens; son, John Boyum of Grand Junction, CO, and grandson, Thomas Hadley of Brooklyn, N.Y. She is also survived by step-children from her marriage to Gerald Boyum (ex-husband), Sally Boyum of Rochester, Gerald (Wanda) Boyum of Faribault, and Nancy (Mike) Kenow of Henderson, NV; along with many step-grandchildren, step-great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
Mary is preceded in death by her parents, Katherine and John; her brothers, Bob, Bill, and John Miller; and her step-daughter, Carol Teigen.
Memorials are preferred to Season’s Hospice or Church of the Resurrection.
The memorial Mass will be at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, December 22nd at Church of the Resurrection, 1600 11th Ave SE, Rochester, MN 55904, with Rev. Shawn Haremza officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church at 10:00 a.m. Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery in Rochester, MN.
The family of Mary Boyum has received the following condolences.
I am so sorry for your loss. May the words of our loving heavenly Father bring your family comfort and strength during this most difficult time as He promises to bring our loved ones back to life in a perfect world where there will be no more suffering or death (John 5:28-29 & Revelation 21:4).
Mary was a close friend of my Grandma Phyllis (and Grandpa Stan) and growing up I just adored her. She always made me feel special and could always make me llaugh.We we're lucky to have Mary over so much when I was a younger it was like having another Grandma. Only spunkier. Mary played a very special role in my life that I will always be grateful for. I bet Mary my grandparents will be heading up North to fish soon, I'm sure the waters always nice in Heaven. My condolences to family, may you find comfort in your memories.
Libby, Johnny, I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this difficult time.
So sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. She was quite the “lady”. Sending healing prayers and comforting hugs
Terri and Bob
A truly special lady who will be greatly missed. Sympathies to you, Libby, and John. Hugs to you both. I know her loved ones and friends in heaven are welcoming her with love and open arms. May memories of happier times get you through this time of sorrow.
Libby, Tom & Ed: We were very saddened to hear of Mary's passing. Praying your many memories of happy times shared with Mary will fill your hearts. The world has lost a great woman and Jesus has found a new fishing buddy.
May God's peace and love be with you,
Diane, Mike & Megan