Just shy of hitting the century mark, Bea Ihlenfeld exudes an energy many young adults would desire. An avid swimmer, Bea often jokes she is able to stay so active because she is “preserved with chlorine.”
Given her lifelong passion for fitness and sports, it’s no wonder she maintains a full lifestyle – despite her own physical limitations due to arthritis. For more than 30 years, she was a swimming regular at the local YMCA. Now at age 99, Bea swims three times a week at the Touchmark Health & Fitness Club. And, if that’s not amazing enough, just two years ago at the age of 97, Bea shared her love of swimming by teaching youngsters – 80-year-old Touchmark residents – how to swim.
Bea came of age at a time when girls’ sports were not commonplace; as a result, she is a strong advocate of girls’ sports at all levels. Aside from fitness and sports, teaching is the other major pursuit in Bea’s life. In her professional life, she was a physical education teacher in the Fargo Public Schools for many years and later was the assistant principal at Fargo North High School. As evidenced by her willingness to give swimming lessons to her fellow Touchmark residents, she is a teacher at heart who loves helping others succeed.
Bea’s inner beauty shines in the way she exudes kindness and compassion. Whether it’s from the smile on her face, the kind words always spoken, or her ability to overcome her physical limitations, Bea truly is an inspiration to all she meets. As a result of this, it is with great pleasure that we nominate Bea as one of the Beautiful Women of North Dakota.