Tag Archives: Bea Milwe

Westport Mourns Bea Milwe

Bea Milwe — who died Saturday at 97 — was a Westport icon.

A civil rights, women’s rights and international peace activist who became a documentary filmmaker after graduating from Sarah Lawrence at the age of 57, she also made her mark on her longtime hometown.

Bea Milwe

Trained as a social worker, she later became a non-governmental representative to the UN through the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom — and headed the Westport chapter.

One of the 1st women to visit China after relations thawed in 1974, she made a ground-breaking film about the country:  “The China Tape.”  Later, she produced the first document film about the Women’s Conference in Beijing.

Other films — focusing on issues like women’s poverty in Connecticut, and the Sioux tribe in South Dakota — were shown on PBS and ABC, and distributed internationally.

Bea and her husband, Sidney, were union activists in the 1940s.  They continued to support liberal political and non-political civic causes, often hosting fundraisers at their Saugatuck Shores homes.  He died in 1992, at 80.

Bea is survived by her companion, Buddy Kushner; 3 children (Jeff of Westport; RTM member Liz of Westport, and Marjorie Lieberman of Fairfield); 7 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren.

Contributions in Bea Milwe’s memory may be sent to Green Village Initiative, c/o Main Street Resources, 120 Post Road West, Westport CT 06880, or Charter Oak Challenge Foundation, 575 Riverside Ave., Suite 202A, Westport, CT 06880.

A memorial service honoring her long and wonderful life will be held in June.