ISU Magazine

Volume 41 | Number 1 | Fall/Winter 2010

Beverly Bistline

Beverly B. Bistline with Bruce Bistline before the 2005 Homecoming Parade.

Photos by ISU Photographic Services/Susan Duncan

The Loss of a Friend

Fall 2010 Issue | By Bruce Bistline

Beverly Bistline, 88, of Pocatello, passed away Saturday, Oct. 23, at Quail Ridge Assisted Living in Pocatello.

Beverly was born in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, on Aug. 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 Idaho State University) 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 University of Idaho.

Beverly with Bruce and former ISU President Richard Bowen at the grand opening of the Bistline Theatre in the L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Perfoming Arts Center.

After graduation from University of Idaho, Beverly returned to Pocatello and worked in her father's law office for about one year before accepting the call to service during World War II. 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 three 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. 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 benefits to attend the University of Utah where she was one of only a few women studying law.

She graduated from the University of Utah with a juris doctorate in 1954 and returned to Pocatello where she entered politics as a Democratic 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 leading 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 five 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 she 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. She worked at the practice until her retirement in 1994.

A view of a stage set in the Bistline Theatre

Beverly was active in several political campaigns, most notably those of former Governor Cecil B. Andrus, former Legislator Patricia McDermott, and at least five presidential campaigns. She was an alternate delegate at the Democratic convention in 1972. In 1974, she was elected to the Idaho legislature, where she served two years.

Over the years Beverly served on many commissions, boards and councils, including 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 Citizens' 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. Her commitment to the arts has long been demonstrated by the activities of the Bistline Family Foundation, which she started and funded. The foundation has supported a variety of art activities in Pocatello and the surrounding small towns.