On December 9, 1944 the world was about to change for many, not because World War II was coming to an end, but because in a small hospital room in San Antonio, TX, Katherine Sartorius was about to give birth to her and Dr. Herman’s 5th and final child. Hey, they were Catholic…5 kids was a small family. Her siblings all watched with some chagrin as the happy couple spoiled their “Peach fuzzed” youngest, showering her with all that the youngest is usually bequeathed. As they watched her break all the rules virtually unscathed, they came to love her shining, yet innocent personality. There was something about her that lightened a hard day and made a dark room bright, and they, like everyone that knew her since came away feeling better.
She went off to school; first in Dodge City, then Loretto Heights in Denver. While in Denver, she met a fun-loving dirt stirring guy…Ron Beims…somehow she convinced her father Ron might make a good Catholic husband. Doc was skeptical, but after some “conversion,” he acquiesced. They married on June 11, 1966.
Peach was an Army wife and would soon be a mom. After moving back to Denver, she gave birth to Jeff. Mark “Fred” came along 5 years later while they were living in Houston. After transferring back to Denver Peach got a job teaching at All Souls Catholic Elementary in Englewood until she and Ron decided to move their little family to a town with about as many residents as there were students in the little Catholic school. When the mild culture shock wore off, Peach hit the ground running. She had found her house, but more importantly she had found her home.
Within a year she would be teaching again in Herndon and wouldn’t quit until they closed the school. So, she just followed her beloved kindergartners to Atwood and continued to teach them, adding librarian duties along the way. Considering her lifelong love of reading, that seemed appropriate. Anyone who had the life altering experience of sitting in on one of her classroom readings of her favorite books (“Skippyjon Jones” comes immediately to mind) can attest to her passion. She could make a book come alive! Simply put, when she was on the floor with her kids reading or counting pop tabs – she did get to a million if you’re wondering, but it took years – Peach was exactly where she was meant to be. After all, she never really grew up.
No matter the surroundings, wherever Peach was, somebody was smiling. She got involved in everything it seemed at one point or another, dragging her 2 knuckleheaded boys with her. Then God threw them all a curve ball…Jennifer. Other than spending some time laid up in bed prior to her birth, the addition didn’t seem to slow her down. She was heavily involved in the Herndon Ox Roast celebration, Christian Mothers, the Herndon Craft Fair, the Atwood Country Club and probably a dozen more. What she brought to those organizations was an energy, a sense of purpose, a smile (and probably a couple beers.) She had the uncanny ability to bring order to chaos, and if that didn’t work, she was willing to just enjoy the chaos. Actually, she didn’t really try too hard at the “order” part. She kinda liked the chaos.
Other than her commitment to her family, her Church, and her organizations, she loved to “craft.” She would get hooked on some new craft, and within a few months all her friends would have one in their living room…or their basement depending on how well she had perfected it. Owls, Paper Mache’ dolls, tin can straw men or snowmen, oil paintings, scrapbooking…if you have the whole collection you’re either a family member or a really good friend. For most kindergarten classes art day was once a week. Peach’s class would paint the principal if they could get him to stand still long enough. It’s a good thing she wasn’t an art teacher. They would still be cleaning that up! Funny thing though; many of her former students count her as their favorite teacher to this day. She must have been doing something right. Peach never had a bad day; just differing degrees of good ones.
She never grew up, but she did grow old, and God must have decided He needed somebody to liven up Heaven. He made the perfect choice. He took her on a Saturday (April 13, 2019.) Hope He likes scrapbooking and “Skippyjon Jones.”
Peach (her real name is Sheila but don’t tell anyone) is preceded by her parents Herman and Katherine Sartorius and her brother Terry Sartorius. She is survived by her loving husband Ron, her sons Jeff (Leslie) and Mark (Alisha), her daughter Jennifer (Justin) Davis, her six grandchildren (Payton, Reagan, Connor, Caden, Mason & Logan,) her sisters Virginia (Gilles) St-Cyr and Sr. Anthony Mary Sartorius, and her brother Tim (Wanda) Sartorius, numerous nieces & nephews, and countless (and I do mean countless-no I really mean a lot) of dear friends….Oh, and her goofy dog Bitzi…and a rotating collection of cats. Many of the birds she used to watch also preceded her in death, largely due to the cats. Although we mourn her passing and will miss her dearly, God blessed us with a Peach. We should be happy for that because there will never be another!
A Memorial Mass will take place at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 27, 2019, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Herndon, KS, with a Rosary at 10:00 a.m. Inurnment will follow in the church cemetery. Memorials are suggested to the Peach Biems Memorials Fund and can be sent in care of Baalmann Mortuary, PO Box 391, Colby, KS 67701. For information or condolences visit www.baalmannmortuary.com