Mr. Gerald L. "Gary" Beard

  • Born: October 22, 1933
  • Died: January 25, 2020
  • Location: Battle Creek, Michigan

Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care

105 Capital Ave NE
Battle Creek, MI 49017

Tel. (269) 962-5527

Tribute & Message From The Family


Gerald L. "Gary" Beard, age 86, of Battle Creek died Saturday morning, January 25, 2020 at the Ascension Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo.

Gary was born in Peoria, Indiana on October 22, 1933, the son of Glenn and Evelyn Beard. He graduated from Peru High School in Indiana in 1951 and Ball State Teacher's College in 1955. He later received his Master's degree from Western Michigan University.

Gary started his teaching career in 1955 at Marcellus, Michigan, where he was a teacher and coach until 1958. In the Fall of 1958, Gary joined the staff of the Lakeview School District in Battle Creek, where he proudly spent the next 45 years as a loyal Purple and White Spartan. During his 45 years at Lakeview (1958-2003), Gary worked tirelessly every day to make Lakeview a "Better Place" for staff and students, first-class in every way. He served the district as Teacher, Coach, Athletic Director, and L.H.S. Assistant Principal. After retirement in 1988, Gary remained with the Lakeview Schools for 15 years as a bus driver. In recognition of his many years of service (45 years and beyond) the Lakeview School District in March 2017, created a "Gary Beard Lifetime Service Award", to be given annually to some deserving person.

In 2003, Gary was elected to the Lakeview High School Athletic Hall-of-Fame, and in 2008 elected to the Wall-of-Fame, presented by the Battle Creek Area Amateur Sports Association and Michigan Amateur Baseball Association, for his "outstanding contributions to amateur baseball in Battle Creek and the state of Michigan".

In 2014, Gary and Marlene were honored by Lakeview High School with the establishment of the Gary and Marlene Beard Athletic Scholarship Fund.

Beyond education, Gary directed a state-recognized B.C. Township Baseball Program (1960's), was Director of Riverside Sports School, umpired in the Stan Musial World Series and the City Majors Baseball league, officiated M.H.S.A.A. athletic events, was "Caddie Master" at the BC Country Club, was Sports Director and Broadcaster at WBCK, and was a Calhoun County Commissioner.

As County Commissioner, Gary, along with a Blue-Ribbon Committee was one of the leaders in getting the jail bond passed in the late 1980's – then moving the construction of the jail from Marshall to Battle Creek in the early 1990's. Along with the building of the jail in Battle Creek, Gary was "most proud" of his commissioners, who were responsible for approving and building the Marian Burch "Adult Day-Care" Center. Gary often said, "It was probably the best thing we ever did, as commissioners."

Gary was united in marriage to Marlene Jo Rumsey of Marcellus, Michigan on December 27th, 1958. They recently celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary. Gary's many close friends often stated, "She's the best thing that ever happened to Gary." He always agreed. Gary is also survived by his children, Kevin (Maria) Beard of Florida and Dr. Debra (Phil) Noakes of Marshall; his children from a previous marriage, Steve (Theresa) Coyner and Becky Garmon, both of Indiana; and his sister, Janet (John) Arnold of Indiana. In addition, Gary is survived by three wonderful, "Special" granddaughters, Nicole, Amanda, and Madison. Gary's greatest enjoyment in life was being with his granddaughters, caring for them, getting them to their events, attending their school activities, and "just seeing them happy-and applauding their success."

Gary also enjoyed the weekly dinners with his fellow Spartan retirees, traveling to Florida every Spring to see the Tigers, friends, and family, playing golf, reading, and swimming in the backyard pool. But, more than any other activity, he and Marlene enjoyed watching their granddaughters, Amanda and Madison, wearing the Purple and White, while competing for the Lakeview Spartans – Amanda in Golf and Track and Madison in Basketball and Soccer.

Gary was a member of the Chapel Hill United Methodist Church since 1964. He thoroughly enjoyed the people of Chapel Hill. "They were the Best", he said.

The family will receive friends 2:00 to 4:00 and 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care, Battle Creek and from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., Thursday, January 30, 2020 at the Chapel Hill United Methodist Church where services to celebrate Gary's life will begin at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, with Pastor Chad M. Parmalee, Rev. Dr. James M. Gysel, and Rev. David L. Morton, officiating. Entombment will be held privately at Memorial Park Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Gary and Marlene Beard Athletic Scholarship, which honors the top scholar-athletes (male and female) at Lakeview High School. All contributions should be made to the Battle Creek Community Foundation.