Dorothy Harper Bean, age 97, passed away peacefully on October 5, 2020, with her children by her side.

She was born on November 4, 1922 and was a lifelong resident of Lakeland. She was the daughter of the late Robert Frank and Lula Harper. She was preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, O. F. “Buddy” Bean, Jr., by her daughter, Joyce Thompson, by her great granddaughter, Coleen Persell, and by her siblings Maude Glawson, Frank Harper, Jr., Joe Bill Harper, and Juanita Harper. She is survived by a daughter, Janice Noles (Dillwyn, deceased), Lakeland, and a son, David Bean (Ann Caroline), Lakeland, a brother, Virgil Harper, Cairo, GA, and grandchildren Allison Williamson (Shannon), Bartow, Jeremy Noles (Beth Anne), Lakeland, Carrie Stute (David), Washington, D.C., Katie Bean, Mt. Pleasant, SC, Paul Thompson (Cindi), Lakeland, Jason Thompson (Tricia), Seattle, WA, Holly Persell (Jason), Florence, AL, Jenny McDonald (Bryan), Texarkana, AR, and Mandy Harrington (Chris), Murfreesboro, TN, 19 great grandchildren, and 6 great great grandchildren.

Dorothy worked alongside her husband for many years at the family business, Bean Brothers Sausage Company, contributing to the business’s daily operations and growth. She was a talented dollmaker, seamstress, and artist, but her greatest talent was that she was an excellent cook. She was famous for her specialty cakes and desserts that she baked frequently for family and friends.

Dorothy was funny, quick-witted, strong willed, and as independent as they come. She was a widow for 30 years but continued to live by herself and take care of the home she and her husband built on Lake Gibson in 1963. Dorothy’s fondest memories in recent years were when her grandchildren and their families would visit her lakefront home in Lakeland and enjoy days filled with boating, swimming, and cookouts. She loved seeing them have fun at the place that meant so much to her.

She was a kind, thoughtful, and generous person. As a final act of selflessness, she donated her body to the University of Central Florida Medical School for medical research, inspired by her physician grandson. She will be remembered as a loving and caring wife, mother, and grandmother and will be greatly missed by all who knew her. Her service will be held at a later date.

Given Dorothy’s lifelong love of animals, including her most recent K9 companion adopted from the SPCA, a gift to SPCA Florida in her honor would be a fitting tribute (5850 Brannen Road, Lakeland, FL 33813).

Condolences may be sent to the family at Heath Funeral Chapel.

Keep Up With Lakeland

Each Thursday, we’ll send you the latest news, including a preview of weekend events

SEND FEEDBACK, corrections or news tips:


Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.

Leave a comment

Your Thoughts On This? (Comments are moderated; first and last name are required.) Cancel reply