Charlot was peacefully called home to her Lord and Savior on August 17, 2020. She was born to John and Alta Van Belle in Mabton, Washington on January 25, 1928. Charlot was preceded in death by son Kelly (Patti), her parents, sister Betty, and brothers John and Jim. Surviving are her husband of nearly 73 years, Frank; sons Casey (Anne), Tim (Val), Pat (Stephanie) and daughter Shannon (Don) Stewart, brother Charles and sister Ellen, 12 grandchildren, numerous great grandchildren and nieces and nephews.
Charlot grew up on the family ranch near Sunnyside and attended Sunnyside schools, were she was an outstanding student active in music and arts programs. Charlot attend Seattle Pacific University to study art. An accomplished horsewoman, she was the Toppenish Pow Wow Rodeo Queen in 1946.
Charlot’s education plans turned upside down when at semester break, she met the love of her life, a handsome young rodeo cowboy named Frank Beard. Frank was working for her father, noted northwest cowboy and rodeo stock contractor Johnny Van Belle. After a brief courtship, the couple married at the family ranch on September 3rd, 1947. In true rodeo fashion, they honeymooned at the Moses Lake, Washington rodeo.
They settled on a ranch near Outlook, Washington; welcoming their five children. A devoted parent, Charlot instilled a strong sense of right and wrong, respect for others and a lifelong appreciation of learning in her children.
Most weekends found the young family at a rodeo where Frank competed and served as a pickup man. Charlot kept camp and fed dozens of people who stopped by. Performing the miracle of the loaves and fishes to feed the multitudes was a feat she would repeat throughout her life, as her house was always full of friends and family.
As her children grew older, Charlot became active in the Outlook School PTA and 4-H and church programs. Employing her artistic talents, she tinted photographs and became an accomplished tool leather worker. Beyond raising her children, Charlot opened her home to many young people over the years.
In 1977, Frank and Charlot purchased a ranch near Ellensburg, Washington. She loved her log home, the Kittitas Valley and Ellensburg. Charlot was active in arts programs, helping found the annual Ellensburg Art Show and Auction, taking art classes and painting.
With Frank, she managed Beard Rodeos, a Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association stock contacting company providing bucking horses and bulls at rodeos across the west. Charlot managed the books, made travel arrangements and washed and ironed a never-ending stream of Wrangler jeans. A trip to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas capped each year, where many of their horses and bulls were selected for the prestigious rodeo. Honoring their lifelong contributions to the sport of rodeo, the Beard family were inducted to the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame and recognized as a foundation rodeo family at a ceremony during the National Finals Rodeo.
In retirement, Charlot enjoyed her beloved home surrounded by friends, family and a lifetime’s collection of Native American beadwork, western art and cowboy memorabilia. Throughout her life, Charlot never lost her sense of humor, love for Frank and her family and faith in God.
The family thanks her care givers for their kind attention to Charlot. At her request, there will be a private, graveside service with a celebration of her life scheduled in the future. In lieu of flowers, Charlot asked that a contribution be made to the Union Gospel Mission in Yakima, Washington.
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