Rose Beatrice “Bea” Gillooly

Rose Beatrice “Bea” Gillooly died of Covid 19 on November 18, 2020. She was 98 years old and suffered with dementia the last several years of her life.

Born in Bellaire, Ohio to Dominic and Giovanna Corapi, she grew up in an Italian community overlooking the Ohio River and across from Wheeling, WV. She moved to Dayton after high school, took college courses, and worked in secretarial positions. There she met her husband, Richard “Dick” Gillooly who was stationed at Wright Air Field in the Army Air Corps.

After they married and Dick had completed his graduate work, he was recruited by James McDonnell to move to St. Louis and work for what was then McDonnell Aircraft, and is now Boeing. He went on to have a long career in space exploration from breaking the sound barrier to deputy director of the Skylab guidance system. They settled in Ferguson, MO, were parishioners at Sts. John and James Church and went on to have 10 children. Dick died in 1980.

Bea’s two passions in life were traveling and reading. Beginning in 1968, and as often as she could, she traveled the world. She visited multiple countries on six continents, taking photos whenever possible. Reminiscing of those trips when viewing photos brought her great joy over the years. In her early St. Louis years, Bea joined a women’s book group and continued to meet monthly to discuss books, politics, and current events for over 50 years. In addition to raising 10 children, Bea was an active volunteer. She started a rental book system at Sts. John and James allowing families to pay a small annual fee to borrow books for the school year and not have to purchase new sets for their children each year. She was involved in The Experiment in International Living, allowing children and students from other countries to temporarily live with host families in the St. Louis area. She went on to become a board member of that group as well as a docent for the First Street Forum, a contemporary art gallery. She was also involved as a volunteer for the ScholarShop for many years.

In addition to her husband, her daughter Kate, preceded her in death. Bea leaves behind 9 children: Robert, Ann, Michael, Marian, Kevin, Jane, Megan, Brian, and Sean; multiple grandchildren and great grandchildren, and a sister, Patricia Harris of Montgomery, AL.

Many of her children would have been with her in the end if she hadn’t been isolated in a Covid 19 ward for her last two weeks. We hold the Trump administration directly responsible for robbing us of the opportunity of saying goodbye to our mother.

A private memorial service will be held in the near future. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Mother of Good Counsel Home or the Ferguson Library.






  1. Michael Cosgrove on November 22, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    The news of your mother’s passing brought back a flood of memories for me. I remember her as an extraordinarily patient and kind woman, who’s good nature kept her from killing the crowds of Mikes friends who gathered at the house on almost a daily basis for several years. She was the kind of person who always made you feel welcome.

    The house on Royal was at the halfway point of my walk home from SSJJ. So I would often walk home with Mike and stop off. There always seemed to be something interesting on the dining room table, papers marked by a rubber stamp, SECRET. Once there was an enormous book that had pictures of the surface of the moon. Mike and I flipped through it and got bored after a few minutes. A month or two later the same pictures were featured on CBS News as recently declassified Moon Probe Photos!

    I was very sorry to see that Kate has passed, losing a sibling is tough, I know, my brother Dan died just over a year ago.

    Mapes, please give my regards to all the Gilloolys

    Mike Cosgrove

  2. Donna Checkett on November 22, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    Bea certainly lived a long, full, varied and interesting life, and the Checkett family was immeasurably richer to have been part of it. My mother and father adored and admired her. Thinking about their many adventures post-child raising, Dad at the wheel, Mom and Bea directing him to art museums and historical places they wanted to visit, always brings a smile. She and my mother loved books and co-led the Great Books discussion group at SSJJ for several years. “Bookies Live Forever”!

    Of course I knew her best as “Marian’s mother” and remember playing in the basement and spending the night at 302 Royal with great fondness. Reading the comment above, I am struck by the fact that it was also often my stopping off place on the way home from SSJJ! All were welcome.

    Bea did so much for so many but I have to note that I had just a handful of “real hardback books” when I was a child and two of the very best came to me, via Marian, as a birthday gift. They were “The Outsiders” and “A Wrinkle in Time”–both now of course children’s classics. I read them more times than I could guess.

    Thinking of all of you with a full heart. Remember, and as Ponyboy reminds us, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.”


  3. Marilee Roy on November 24, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    Mrs. Gillooly. Yes, I still call her that even though she told me several times she thought I was old enough to call her Bea. When I think of her, first is “Marian’s mom.” Then I think of travel, books, art, interesting bowls that don’t match the rest of the dish set and good food. I think of a woman with a lovely and welcoming family. It has been my great fortune to know them for over 50 years. Thinking of you all with a warm heart. My condolences.


  4. Joan Sauer Wideman on November 27, 2020 at 10:44 am

    Dear Marian (and all the Gillooly family),
    My most sincere condolences at the passing of your mother. You are so blessed to have had her as your mother. May your memories of her sustain you in this time of grieving. I lost my mother in September and her memory keeps popping up daily. I have found consolation in knowing others remember her with love, too. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  5. Peggy Dolan Peel on March 16, 2021 at 2:08 pm

    Marian and family

    I just happened upon this today as I was looking for something else. I think of you often and recognize your mom’s smile. I did not walk past your house on the way home from school as I lived the other direction, but I had been to your house several times. It was always busy and filled with kids and adventure. I lost my mom in 2007 and my dad in 2010 and know the profound loss. I cannot even imagine losing a loved one during covid. So devastating not to be able to be there. I am sorry to see that you lost your sister as well.

    I was actually looking up something about the film that your sister Jane directed about Kinloch. I happened upon it on PBS a couple of weeks ago and was telling someone about it yesterday. I am not sure why I never knew that the street was actually blocked off. I just knew we never went there. And when I saw that Jane was from Ferguson I got to wondering if she was related. I think of you often.

    My sincere sympathy to you and your siblings. I hope everyone else is well. Peggy

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