Retha Beardslee


On July 13, 2020, Retha Louise Armstrong Beardslee, at the age of 95, went to her heavenly home.

Retha was the daughter of Frank Sherman Armstrong and Irene McLachlan Armstrong. She grew up on the Johnson Hill family farm, Walton with three older sisters: Vivian Armstrong McCoy, Theris Armstrong Seymour, Marian Armstrong Hood and one younger brother, Sherman A. Armstrong; all preceded her.  

Retha enjoyed farming and she was often the one helping her dad with the farm chores. She graduated from Walton High School. As a young woman, she spent some time working in Walton’s Kayser Silk Mill. A flat tire brought a man into her life, and she married Donald Beardslee on New Year’s Eve 1946. They farmed together on Upper Loomis Brook.

Having no children of their own, they enjoyed pouring out their love on others - nieces, nephews, neighbors, and youngsters at church. Retha taught Sunday School and was active in the women’s ministry at the Walton First Baptist Church. She loved Jesus and showing his love to others, whether taking a neighbor for groceries or giving someone a little money to help them or writing an encouraging note. Don and Retha worked with The Gideons International.

Donald preceded her in death in 1979. After selling the cows, Retha continued to live on the farm until her health declined. Since then, she has been a resident of the Robinson Terrace Senior Living, and more recently, the Robinson Terrace Nursing Center in Stamford.

Retha is survived by her sister-in-law Doris Armstrong, Downsville, and good friend and neighbor Charlie Goodrich (Gale) of Walton and many nieces and nephews.

Calling hours to which relatives and friends are invited to attend will take place on Friday, July 17, from 1-2 p.m. at Courtney Funeral Home, 25 Townsend Street, Walton. A service to celebrate Retha’s life will follow at 2 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial will take place at Walton Cemetery, 55 Fancher Avenue, Walton. Social distancing guidelines must be met, and face masks are required.

Memorial donations in Retha’s memory may be made to The Gideon’s International, The Gideon’s International Processing Center, P.O. Box 97251, Washington, DC 20090-7251 or online at or to the Walton First Baptist Church, 55 Townsend Street, Walton, NY 13856.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Courtney Funeral Home, Walton. To leave a message for Retha’s family visit her online tribute at


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