Lee BeDillon of Phoenix died Feb. 3, 2006. He was born to C.D. and Myrtle (Smith) BeDillon July 16, 1915 in Dodge City, Kan.
He was active in Boy Scouts and earned an Eagle Scout award.
BeDillon graduated from Kansas State Teachers College at Pittsburg, Kan., where he excelled in track and field, earning him a Legacy Athlete Award in 2005 for several records that remained unbroken for decades.
He married Annabel Schoenig in 1939 and began teaching. In 1945, with Annabel and 3-year-old son, Ronald, BeDillon moved to Casa Grande, Ariz. He taught industrial arts and initiated the first aeronautics class for high school students in Arizona, launching the careers of many pilots.
In 1965, he and his wife purchased the historic Cactus Gardens and Museum in Casa Grande. After restoring and improving the property, they sold it to Michael (one of his former students) and Nancy Jackson, and it is now the popular restaurant and venue BeDillon Cactus Garden & Museum.
The BeDillons made Payson their home for the years after retirement, and moved to Phoenix in 2000.
Mr. BeDillon is survived by his wife, Annabel of Phoenix; daughter, Ann A'Lee Miles of Phoenix; son, Nyle of Denver; grandsons, Brian and Brent BeDillon; granddaughters, Diana Perez, Stephanie Crow and Danielle BeDillon; eight great-granddaughters; and many relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, A.M. "Jack" BeDillon; and his son, Ron.
Funeral services were held at Messinger Payson Funeral Home Friday, Feb. 10, with interment following at Mountain Meadows Memorial Park, Payson.
There will be a memorial service at BeDillon Cactus Garden, Casa Grande, at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11.
Donations may be made to Hospice of the Valley, 9720 W. Peoria Ave., St. #128, Peoria, AZ 85345.
Arrangements by Messinger Payson Funeral Home. An online guestbook is available at www.messingerpayson.com.