She was born Sept. 19, 1916, in Cape Girardeau to William Wallace and Mary Mildred Rector Beard. Mildred married Ray Cash Fee, the love of her life, April 20, 1941. He lost his life April 18, 1945, serving with the U.S. Army in Germany during World War II. She later married naval officer Francis D. Wertz.
Mildred built a successful career in education beginning in Cape Girardeau at Washington School from 1937 to 1941. She then taught in Belton, Texas; Norfolk, Neb.; Penn State University; in Maryland; and in Norfolk, Va. While in Norfolk, Va., she developed and served as adviser for the speech therapy program for the Norfolk city public schools. She finished her career as a professor at Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University, both in Norfolk.
One of her greatest achievements was serving as 10th president of the Speech, Hearing and Language Association of Virginia. She was a member of Daughters of the American Revolution and choir member at Centenary United Methodist Church.
Mildred is survived by a daughter, Mary Frances King of Chesapeake, Va.; two grandchildren, Michelle Mordica Thomas of Cape Girardeau and Tommy King of Chesapeake; two sisters-in-law, Juliene Beard of Cape Girardeau and Peggy Beard of St. Louis; three nephews, Don and Dan Beard of Cape Girardeau and Robbie Beard of Texas; two nieces, Susan and Barbara Beard of St. Louis, and each of their respective families; plus hundreds who were inspired by her and adored her.
She was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers, William "Bill" and Robert "Bob" Beard of Cape Girardeau.
A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at Cape County Memorial Park, with the Rev. Wayne Schwiesow officiating.
Ford and Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Online condolences may be made at www.fordandsonsfuneralhome.com.