Beauty Queen Conquers Nashville Only to Suffer Loss

Georgia Bedwell portraitGeorgia Becker Bedwell has packed a lot of living into her life. The 1972 Miss North Dakota traveled the world, married twice, raised a son, lived and worked in Nashville, earned a college certificate, and moved back to North Dakota. Today she’s working full-time and learning to adjust to her life as a widow, something she’d rather not be doing.
Inspiring North Dakotan Musicians
Georgia, the oldest of seven children, was raised in a musical family in Napoleon where she was surrounded by the ever-present sounds of country music on her dad’s radio and stereo. Her high school music teacher, Gene Mosbrucker,  encouraged her to pursue her passion of music. Both saw music as a way for Georgia to fund a college education. When she learned pageants provided scholarships for college, she entered. She won the Miss Kidder County pageant and then Miss North Dakota, including the talent portion, singing the popular, “Rose Garden,” recorded by fellow North Dakotan Lynn Anderson. Like many North Dakotans, Georgia watched Strasburg’s Lawrence Welk on his Saturday night show where Lynn performed regularly. Lynn became Georgia’s inspiration.
georgia homesteadOne Song, Many Opportunities
Georgia’s memorable performances of “Rose Garden” opened many doors for her. After receiving a non-finalist talent scholarship at the Miss America pageant, Georgia joined the Miss America USO tour and was a part of the Miss America pageant production the following year. Tom Bryant, a fellow Napoleon High School graduate who worked at Nashville’s WSM (AM) radio, home of The Grand Old Opry-the world’s longest running radio program, shared a tape of Georgia’s performance, landing her an invitation to perform there in 1973. Shortly thereafter she moved to Nashville and began a career in country music.
Garth CMA Horizon AwardCountry Music Career Takes Off
Georgia worked in the country music show at Opryland USA where she met two other female vocalists who together later became Roy Clark’s backup singers. Besides working many television shows like the Tonight Show, Tony Orlando and Dawn, Dinah Shore and the Merv Griffin show, in 1976 the group accompanied Roy on a cultural exchange tour to the former Soviet Union. They also toured the entire USA and Canada. After leaving Roy, the group returned to Opryland USA with their own show called “Three of a Kind.” In addition, Georgia started singing on writer’s demos; one was released as a single record on an independent label, which led to a second single. She toured with her own show until 1983 when she took a job in record promotion at Capitol Records where she stayed for 14 years. There she experienced the music industry from the inside out.
Georgia helped launch the careers of, and brought home number one records for many artists including, but not limited to, Trace Adkins, Garth Brooks, and Tanya Tucker.
Georgia acknowledges that today’s music industry has changed. Success still depends on one’s own determination and being a songwriter still separates one apart from others. However, playlists are tighter and now consultants rather than markets pick music. Her favorite performers include icons Garth, Reba and George and the song she often sings to herself is one written by Rodney Crowell and originally recorded by Emmylou Harris, “Till I Gain Control Again.”

Her husband of 22 years, Byron L. Bedwell, III, played this song on his guitar while she sang. She misses that, and him.
Me, Trent & ByronLove Hurts
Georgia’s life partner, Byron, was diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer in February 2015 and died July 17, 2015. It’s her greatest heartache and one she’s learning to cope with today. She understands her life has been blessed and continues to be blessed. But, if she had a magic wand, she’d wish for Byron to return so they could grow old together. Like many who’ve lost a loved one, Georgia feels like a piece of her is missing and she’s working hard to figure out how to become a whole person again.

Next Chapter
Georgia recently finished college classes and earned a human resources certification she’s using at her Bismarck bank job. She knows it’s never too late to change “horses and find a new career.” She understands that all of us have the choice to be who we want to be and that it is up to us to make it happen. Georgia also serves on the Board of Directors for the Miss North Dakota Scholarship Organization as their talent coordinator. She continues to promote the pageant as a source of scholarship funds for young women.
She cites her greatest accomplishment as her wonderful son, Trent, whom she wishes she lived nearer to. Her greatest joy originates from sharing her heart and faith and from caring for others who may need her help. More than anything, she wishes to be remembered for that loving and giving heart. She longs for her parents to be with her for many years ahead and wishes she could thank her deceased Grandma Johanna Mitzel for teaching her the value of loving unconditionally.
verseMore than ever she’s living by her favorite verse “Walk by faith not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7.

Still a beauty. Still a talent. Back in North Dakota. Georgia Becker Bedwell.
Leave your greetings for Georgia in the comment section below.

Share this with others who also were inspired by and admired this remarkably talented woman.

Miss North Dakota Becomes Miss America 2018

Georgia is on the Board of Directors and the Talent Coordinator for the Miss North Dakota organization. In September 2017, Cara Mund, Miss North Dakota was crowned Miss America 2018. Congratulations to all!

Linda Leier Thomason is a former CEO who writes freelance business and travel stories, along with feature articles. Her work experiences include a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Find out more about Linda by clicking the “Meet Linda” tab above. Interested in working together? Complete this form below.


©Copyright. March 2016. Linda Leier Thomason

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57 thoughts on “Beauty Queen Conquers Nashville Only to Suffer Loss

  1. A very well written story! Thank you for reminding us all what Georgia accomplished & telling us those we didn’t know about.
    It’s always great seeing Georgia & hearing her sing when we get a chance!! Talented family all the way around!

  2. This is beautifully written, Linda. Georgia’s life is quite a tale and remains an inspiration to many of us. Thank you for sharing this. Best wishes.

    1. Hi Darcy, Thanks for reading & commenting. You’re right. Georgia’s life is an inspiration, and I continue to admire those who aren’t afraid to try new things and start over, if need be. What a wonderful example for all she is. Linda

  3. Linda, Georgia has had so many great things happen to her in her journey, she has accomplished so much since 1972. It would be an Honor to even get a chance to talk with her. I am a retired Musician in Minnesota. I played for almost 30 yrs. With a Country band. It’s pretty neat that she would sing Rose Garden. When we were Inducted into the Midwest Rock and Country Hall of Fame in 2008, we backed up Miss Lynn Anderson. Enough about us, tell Georgia I am so Happy for her. I am a good friend of her Brother Jeffs, and I have heard him sing, I can Imagine how Great Georgia is. Congrats to her.

  4. Wonderful article and thanks for doing such a good job writing it. Georgia is one of the strongest loving people I know and I am blessed to call her family and a friend.

      1. I love you and am equally blessed to have you in my life. We’ve always been family and always have been dear friends.

    1. Thank you little brother for your help. You and Darc are the talented ones as is Greg. Heck, we all love music and share it with one another. Love you.

  5. What a beautifully written story about a beautiful woman (inside and out). So proud of her accomplishnents. I haven’t seen Georgia for years, but have been able to connect on Facebook.

    1. Darlene you and the Wald family have always held a special place in my heart and always will. It is so wonderful to be able to connect again via Facebook. Thank you.

  6. Linda…. I am doubly proud today. Proud of Georgia, her family, and her enviable accomplishments for sure. And proud of you for your having so ably presented her story to us. You have a talent and I am happy for you. Two Napoleon High School alumnae who have represented themselves well.

    1. Mr. Kambeitz, What a pleasant surprise to find your comments on here. I’m touched that you took the time to read and comment. Great teachers set me on a successful path. Thanks for being one of them. Best wishes, Linda

  7. A beautiful article written for a beautiful woman . Georgia is a wonderfully caring woman who I have had the pleasure of knowing for 23 years . She is all of those things and more !! Her love for music and Byron’s love for music , well you can imagine the wonderful sounds they made together !!! Very proud to call Georgia my stepmother !!

    1. I love my daughter. There is that step thing going on, but with us you’d never know. I have been blessed to have her, her husband Bill and my lovely granddaughters Kaycee and Sydney there to support me not only through the years, but especially now.

  8. Great story! I am several years younger than Georgia but as a young girl I always admired her! Great family!! Thanks for sharing, makes me feel like I’m home again!!

  9. What a fabulous article Linda! I am soooo proud of you and even more proud having been your neighbor and babysitter in our farming community of North Dakota! Georgia, what a wonderful love story! Thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of of your life! Hugs Mariann

    1. Thank you Mariann or the prayers and hugs. I saw Killian yesterday at Marty Sperle’s funeral. He looked well. Sad day for all of us.

  10. Had the privilege of working with her before I retired from the bank. Back in the day, she inspired me to try out for Miss ND. Love this lady. She’s very special just as you write about. And so in-love with Byron that my heart hurts for her.

  11. Thank you for doing such a fine story on an exceptional person. My daughter, Ariana, and I had lunch with her today and she’s working through the death of Byron and some pets in the most positive way one can do such a thing. We are glad to have been part of his life. She helped Ariana become Miss ND 2011 and for that experience we will be forever grateful. 🙂

  12. Linda , thank you ! This article about Georgia is especially sacred to me and many others in our family because our brother Byron found a special love , the love of his life in Georgia and it’s such a joy to see her indomitable spirit lifted up and recognized.

  13. I remember when I was about 8 years old and you were in the Miss America Pagent singing that song Rose Garden , Paula and I would try to sing and twirl baton to be talented as you so many years ago I always thought you were so beautiful and talented and I still do ❤️

    1. Gina, Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I love how this article has helped so many remember where they were and what they were doing while Georgia was out conquering the music industry, starting with pageants. Linda

      1. What an inspirational article! My daughter recently began her pageant career. She is the reigning USA National Miss North Dakota Teen. Would you be willing to meet with her to give her tips before the national pageant in July?

        1. Holly, I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. Please contact me at the email address below. I’d be glad to visit with your daughter.

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