Sarah Dighton Beane Lea

Portrait of Sarah Dighton Beane Lea Headstone Photograph



Born July 11, 1907 * El Paso, TX
Died Jan. 29, 2001 * El Paso, TX

Born Jan. 6, 1912 * Monticello, IL

Sarah and I live on the east side of our mountain.
It is the sunrise side, not the sunset side.
It is the side to see the day is coming,
not the side to see the day that is gone.
The best day is the day coming,
with the work to do,
with the eyes wide open,
with the heart

Back of Headstone

Tom Lea
Ben Franklin Post Office, Washington, D.C.
Hall of State, Texas State Fairgrounds, Dallas, TX
Federal Building, El Paso, TX
Post Office, Odessa, TX
Post Office, Seymour, TX

Author & Illustrator
The Brave Bulls
The Wonderful Country
The King Ranch
The Primal Yoke
The Hands of Cantu
A Picture Gallery

WWII Correspondent
Artist correspondent for Life Magazine
A Grizzly from the Coral Sea
Peleliu Landing

Dallas Museum of Art
El Paso Museum of Art
Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe
Smithsonian American Art Museum
US Army Center of Military History
University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at El Paso
Full Name: Sarah Dighton Beane Lea
Location: Section:Republic Hill, Section 1 (C1)
Row:U  Number:1B
Reason for Eligibility: Wife of Tom Lea 
Birth Date: January 6, 1912 
Died: May 2, 2008 
Burial Date: Cenotaph 

LEA, SARAH DIGHTON BEANE (1912 ~ 2008). The following is a biography for Sarah Dighton Beane Lea, spouse of artist Tom Lea. The biography was provided by the Lea family.

"Sarah Catherine Dighton Lea, beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, passed away on Friday, May 2, 2008, at the age of 96. She was born on January 6, 1912, in Monticello, Illinois to Andrew Jackson Dighton and Pearle Noecker Dighton. She attended the University of Illinois and worked as a bookkeeper for the First National Bank of Monticello. While visiting El Paso, Texas in 1938, she met artist Tom Lea. They were married in July 1938.

Sarah is preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Tom Lea, and her granddaughter Sarah Jane Lea. She is survived by her son, James Dighton Lea and his wife, Doris Walker Lea of Houston; her granddaughter Catherine Ann Lea Faldyn of Houston; her great-grandsons, Curtis Daniel Faldyn, Thomas Lea Faldyn and Stephen James Faldyn, all of Houston; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Sarah was an active volunteer and prominent leader in business, civic and welfare activities in El Paso. In 1974, she became the first woman bank director in El Paso when she was named to the board of directors of the State National Bank. She also served on the board of the Pleasant View Home for Senior Citizens, City-County Child Welfare Unit, El Paso Rehabilitation Unit, El Paso Council on Alcoholism, City Recreation Department, El Paso Chapter of Texas Social Family Welfare Association, the Salvation Army and American Red Cross, and as a trustee of the Lee and Beulah Moor Children's Home. 

She served as president of many local organizations such as the YWCA, the United Way, the Junior League, Family Service of El Paso, El Paso Council on Aging, and Traveler's Aid. In 1974, she became the first woman president of the El Paso United Way. She was the co-chairman of the Texas State Volunteer Conference in 1980.

She has been an active member and officer of many organizations and committees. From 1987-1991, she served on the Friends of the Governors Mansion's Committee. She was a member of the Cultural Affairs Committee of the Bi-National Governors Conference, the El Paso City Building and Safety Inspection Board, the West Texas Area Advisory Committee on Aging and the Governors Advisory Committee on Aging. She was a member of the Pan American Round Table, the Symphony Association, and Las Comadres. She served as a volunteer at the Special Collections Department of the UTEP library.

Sarah's many honors and awards included the Hannah G. Solomon Award in 1971 from the El Paso Section of the National Council of Jewish Women. The National Conference of Christians and Jews honored her with its National Award for distinguished service in 1977. She was named the First Lady for 1973 by the El Paso Council of Beta Sigma Phi. The City of El Paso honored her with its Conquistador Award in 1977 as an outstanding community leader. In 1982, she was honored for her distinguished leadership in the Texas Women: A Celebration of History exhibit in El Paso. In 1988, the YWCA dedicated the Sarah D. Lea Building in her honor.

A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 at 3 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the YWCA, the American Red Cross Association, or the United Way. The family would like to thank Sarah's caregivers, Martha and Francesca, for all the years of their compassionate and loving care that they gave Sarah."

Further information is available through the Texas State Cemetery research department.

Additional Multimedia Files To Download:

#10042) Title:Tom and Sarah Lea with family friend, Adair Margo
Source:Adair Margo Gallery, El Paso, Texas


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