Born Jan. 22, 1939 in Enosburg Falls, Vt., to the late Donald and Vivian Bean, she is survived by her four brothers: Daniel, Larry, David and Philip and their families.
She joined the Sisters of Mercy in 1957 after graduating from Enosburg Falls High School. As a Sister, she studied at Manhattanville College and earned a degree from SUNY Potsdam. During her teaching years in upstate New York, she studied and earned a master’s degree from St. Michael’s College. She developed a strong interest in music while in high school, and it continued during her ministry.
A Sister of Mercy for 61 years, Sr. Rhea was gifted, talented, joyful and prayerful. Sr. Rhea was an educator, a teacher of grades 1 and 3, 7-12 and a religious education coordinator.
She taught in upstate New York in Plattsburgh, Saranac Lake, Rouses Point, as well as in New York City and the Bronx. From 1978-1984, Rhea was a member of the religious education staff of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, located in Plattsburgh.
Her ministry experiences were many and varied. She was a member of the New York Mercy Leadership Team for six years, and served as provincial administrator for eight years. She was vocation coordinator for Albany, Dallas, Pa., and New York from 1992-1996 and on the New Membership Team for Brooklyn, New York, and New Jersey 1996-1998.
Rhea also served as acting principal of St. Catharine Academy in 1999 and was its first President in 2000. Her leadership roles and volunteer efforts carried her to five countries outside the U.S., including work as a volunteer teacher in the Philippines.
In recent years she resided at Marian Woods, Hartsdale, N.Y., where she shared her gift of music by forming a bell choir and was also Leader of Song for a time.
Her wake was Sunday, Sept. 30 and her funeral was Oct. 1, both at Marian Woods.
Sister Rhea will be remembered with a memorial service at 11 a.m. on Oct. 19 at the Uilhein Mercy Center, 185 Old Military Rd., Lake Placid, N.Y. Burial will be in St. Alphonse Cemetery, Tupper Lake, N.Y. at 2 p.m. Those wishing to attend lunch should call her brother Dan at 802-985-8545.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Sr. Rhea Bean Scholarship Fund, St. Catharine Academy, 2250 Williamsbridge Rd., Bronx, NY 10461.