​Ice Cream Social to Celebrate Boo and Trink

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

The two women first met while bound for India near the end of WWII and they remained friends for more than 70 years, both activists, humanitarians and adventurers with fierce spirits.
Marion “Trink” Beasley passed away in February, but she and friend Marymor “Boo” Cravens often celebrated their April birthdays together with ice cream. Friends, community members and shoppers are invited to gather at Thurmond Library to honor the Sewanee stalwarts with a free ice cream social on April 28 between 1 and 2:30 p.m., the same day as the community-wide yard sale.
Trink would have been 97 and Boo is marking her 96th birthday.
“Both women were of similar temperament and beliefs, fiery, with strong reactions to the mistreatment of people,” said Trink’s daughter, Gabrielle. “They both had open houses, welcoming everyone, no matter their belief, background or race. They also had wonderful senses of humor with little regard for the proper way of doing things.”
Boo and Trink were activists for women’s rights and other social justice issues. The kindred spirits met in Washington, D.C., during orientation for the American Red Cross, prior to serving near Calcutta, India, at a holding camp for U.S. soldiers returning from fighting in WWII. They were roommates on the boat to India and tentmates while in India.
A stroke in 2008 slowed Trink down a little, but she was still active in the fight for social justice. She had a sticker on the back of her wheelchair that read, “Who Would Jesus Bomb?”
Before retiring to Sewanee in 1990, the Wisconsin native traveled the world on humanitarian and medical missions with her husband, physician William Boddie Rogers Beasley.
Trink’s first job was as an air traffic controller in Cincinnati and she held a variety of interesting positions, but once said the dream job she never got to do was driving an 18-wheeler around the country.
Family friend John Bratton said he loved and admired the Beasley family and has high praise for Trink.
“She was among the most gracious ladies that I have ever known,” Bratton said. “She was beautiful in every sense of the word, and her life was one of service to others. She served this community and others in many ways, especially families coming to live here and also foreign students who were invited to her home for delicious meals.”
Boo spent her life in social work, helping with adoptions and caring for the mentally ill in Tennessee, Virginia and New York City. Boo’s final job in social work was as director of social services at Moccasin Bend Psychiatric in Chattanooga.
The New Orleans native visited Sewanee during her youth, staying at Powhatan, the boarding house which the daughters of Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith operated.
Boo’s grandparents also lived in Sewanee and she called the town “heaven” as a child. Sewanee is where she eventually met her husband, Duval “Duvie” Cravens Jr., an Air Force veteran who ran the Sewanee bookstore.
Trudy Cunningham, one of the organizers of the ice cream social, said the idea developed after Trink’s funeral, when several friends suggested a celebration of the “friendship of Boo and Trink, their love of social justice, books and ice cream, and the radical hospitality they were known for, both here in Sewanee and literally around the world.”
Trudy hopes people will stop in and share stories of the duo and “have a nutty buddy with Boo.”
If Boo is unable to attend due to health reasons, the party will go on with the possibility of Facetiming with her at home.
Thurmond Library is funding the ice cream social through money from its last book sale.
Boo’s actual birthday was April 15. Birthday cards and correspondence can be sent to her at 1190 DuBose St., Monteagle, TN 37356.