Details for Beatrice Elenor Niles

October 27, 1929 - August 6, 2018

Janesville, WI -- Beatrice Elenor Niles died at home on Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. She was born in Janesville on Oct. 27, 1929, in the home of John and Olea (Bystead) Gramke. After she graduated from Janesville High School, her parents sent her to Milton College in the hope she might find a respectable husband. Rather than doing that, sometime prior to Aug. 27, 1948, she was ejected from the Whitford Hall library for the scandalous offense of holding hands with a handsome, young Navy veteran named Charles Niles. For the next 67 years they set a standard for everything a marriage could and ought to be.

Bea and Chuck raised two children, Charles Niles and Kim Soha, yet Bea was the antithesis of the stereotypical 1950s mom. After 27 years of breaking glass ceilings at First National Bank in Janesville, Bea purchased Whitford Hall from the now defunct Milton College. There, she operated the Whitford Hall Antiques Mall for another 20 years and always permitted hand-holding in her library.

Bea was the perennial treasurer of Janesville Little Theatre. Her love of the arts and head for business led JLT through decades of financial success. In honor of their many contributions to the arts throughout Rock County, Chuck and Bea were inducted in the United Arts Alliance Hall of Fame in 2012. Bea was a student of music and dance, and enjoyed tennis to an age that would strain the reader’s credulity.

Bea is preceded in death by her parents; husband; children; brother, Charles; and sister, Jacqueline. She is survived by her grandchildren: Jason (Lisa) Niles, Erika (Josh) Penny, JoHanna (Nick) Kereven, and Jacob (Dani) Soha; seven great grandchildren; a son-in-law, Michael Soha; and sister, Joan Wilson.

A Funeral Service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, at SCHNEIDER FUNERAL HOME & CREMATORY. Burial will be in Oak Hill Cemetery. A visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until the time of service Thursday, at the FUNERAL Home. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Janesville Little Theatre, or Agrace HospiceCare. For online obituary and registry: