Beverly Bistline

MC128 - Biographical Sketch

Collection Inventory
Scope and Content

Obituary published in Idaho State Journal on October 26, 2010


POCATELLO - Beverly Bistline, 88, of Pocatello, succumbed to age related causes on Saturday, October 23, 2010, at Quail Ridge Assisted Living in Pocatello.

Beverly was born in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, on August 28, 1922. While she was still a small child her mother, Anne Glindemann, from Coeur d'Alene, and her father, Francis M. Bistline, from Pocatello, moved to Pocatello. Beverly attended school in Pocatello and graduated from Pocatello High School in 1939. She then attended the University of Idaho, Southern Branch (now I.S.U.) for two years before moving to the University of Idaho, Moscow, from which she graduated in 1943 with a Bachelor of Arts. She was active in the Delta Gamma Sorority while a student at the U of I.

After graduation from the U of I, Beverly returned to Pocatello and worked in her father's law office for about one year before accepting the call to service during WWII. Beverly joined the WAVES. Her poise, public presence and good spirits were quickly noticed and she was assigned to serve as flight attendant on flights out of Washington, D.C., and Honolulu, Hawaii. After 3 years in the service she was discharged and returned to Pocatello where she again worked in her father's office. She married A. R. Spaulding in 1948 but they were divorced a short time later with no children. Her work in her father's office and her exposure to his involvement in politics led to a decision to seek a license to practice law. She used her G.I. Bill to attend the University of Utah where she was one of only a few women studying law.

She graduated from the U of U in 1954 and returned to Pocatello where she entered politics as a Democrat candidate for the Idaho House of Representatives. After an unfavorable outcome to that campaign, she decided to go back to school to study tax law and this led to a move to Los Angeles where she attended the University of Southern California. Armed with specialized training in tax law she accepted a job with a large law firm in Los Angeles where she worked for about 5 years. During her time in L.A. she often visited family in the San Francisco area and spent a lot of time with her beloved Aunt Bert. Eventually decided she liked the Bay City more than L.A. She moved to San Francisco where she practiced for several years and relished the variety of lifestyles, philosophies and art in the Bay Area.

In 1969, while she was visiting Pocatello her father died suddenly while participating in a court hearing. At that point she decided to move back to Pocatello to carry on the family law practice which she did until 1994 when she closed the practice and retired. While practicing law she continued her family's political tradition. She was active in several political campaigns, most notably those of former Governor Cecil B. Andrus, former legislator Patricia McDermott, and at least 5 presidential campaigns. She was an alternate delegate at the Democrat convention in 1972. On her own, she again campaigned for election as a member of the Idaho House of Representatives. She lost her bids in 1972 and 1976 but she was elected in 1974 and served for two years. She was a progressive legislator with environmental leanings. Her pet project was a bill that would have led to the recycling of all glass beverage bottles but she was well ahead of her time and her efforts were blocked by the retail merchants.

Over the years Beverly served on many Commissions, Boards and Councils which included the Idaho State Tax Commission, the Idaho State University Foundation Board, the Governor's Advisory Council for Developmental Disabilities, the Pocatello Citizens Environmental Council, and the Citizen's Advisory Committee to the City Council. She was also active in several local organizations including the P.E.O. Sisterhood, and the First Congregational United Church of Christ. She has provided substantial support to many others including the Pocatello Zoo, the Pocatello Salvation Army and the Pocatello Greenway Foundation.

While she accomplished much in her life she was proudest of her significant role in the design and construction of the Stephens Performing Arts Center (SPAC). Her commitment to the Arts has long been demonstrated by the activities of the Bistline Family Foundation which she started and funded and which has supported a variety of art activities in Pocatello and the surrounding small towns.

Her greatest regret is that she was not able to motivate the community to finish the task of retiring the construction debt for the SPAC and the funding of the endowments needed to maintain the structure and underwrite performances by world class performers.

Her family has planned for an informal viewing which will occur at Downard Funeral Home on October 28 between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. An informal internment ceremony will occur at the family plot in Mountain View Cemetery (23W) on October 30 at 2 p.m. A memorial service will occur at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, on November 6th at 1:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers or other remembrances, contributions made in her name to the Idaho State University Foundation earmarked for the SPAC would be a great honor to her.


Beverly Bistline (1922-2010)

1922   Born in Coeur d'Alene, ID on August 28
1923   Family moved to Pocatello, ID on May 21
1933   Graduated from Pocatello High School
1941   Earned Associates Degree from University of Idaho, Southern Branch (now I.S.U.)
1943   Earned Bachelor of Arts from University of Idaho in Moscow
1944   Joined Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) and spends 3 years living in various places, including NYC, Washington DC & Honolulu
1948   Married A. R. Spaulding, divorce shortly after with no children
1954   Graduated law school from University of Utah on money from the G.I. Bill
1960   Certified in Tax Law from University of Southern California – Lived in L.A. for 5 years, then went to San Francisco to live with Aunt & work in law firm for 10 years
1969   While home for a visit, Beverly’s father, F. M. Bistline, died of a heart attack in a Blackfoot, ID courtroom. Beverly moved back to Pocatello and took over law practice.
1974   Elected to the Idaho Legislature, and then ran unsuccessfully in 1976, 1980, & 1984
2000   May 13, received an honorary Doctorate of Law degree from Idaho State University
2002   80th birthday celebration
2010   Died October 23