Jewell Cardwell

Beatrice “Bea” Huntley, a longtime resident of Medina County’s Granger Township who always had a magical view of the world, died Sunday. She was 106.

Her zest for life and her sunny disposition were her calling cards.

Miss Huntley, who toured the country for 44 years as a magician’s assistant, working with the late John W. Frye on the vaudeville circuit, always maintained silence regarding how the magic tricks were performed.

She also studied at Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music and the Akron Institute of Music and was a professional pianist.

Asked during a Beacon Journal interview on her 100th birthday at her home — where she was still living on her own — about her secret to a long life, Miss Huntley had this to say:

“Don’t smoke or drink. Have a hobby and always keep busy. Of course, it helps to come from pure-blooded pioneer people with good genes, like I did.”

Miss Huntley — all of 74 pounds and 4 feet, 10 inches in her stocking feet — drove until she was 96, was an avid gardener and aficionado of British comedies Last of the Summer Wine and Keeping Up Appearances.

She had absolutely no use for “complainers and people who don’t have any interests in life” and thought others would be wise to adopt that rule.

“I wish I could live a lot longer, like to see people going on vacation on the moon,” Miss Huntley dreamed aloud.

That would be other people, mind you. No seat for her on the spacecraft, she said. “I’ve always been afraid of high places.”

Fortunately for those close enough to observe and learn from her, she was never afraid to share her adventures or encourage others on theirs.

Services for the amazing Miss Huntley will be at 1 p.m. today at Waite & Son Funeral Home, 765 N. Court St., Medina. Visitation one hour before services.

Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or jcardwell@thebeaconjournal.com.