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.


Services


Condolence & Memory Journal

I echo all that has been said about Mr. Beard / Mr. Spartan and share my heart felt condolences with his family. A man deserving respect he will always be Mr Beard to me. I still have a hand written letter from him that says how much he enjoyed the football kickoff pep rally. It meant a lot that he took the time to hand write something that could have easily been dictated to his secretary. He meant so much to so many. R.I.P.

Posted by Allison Thomas - Trumbull - Friend   February 04, 2020

Mr. Beard was very special to a lot of us Lakeview High School Alumni, wether he taught us in class or not. He and his wife Marlene were special to Chapel Hill UMC also. He had a personality that wouldn't quit. He
will be missed by all those who had contact with him. RIP Mr. Beard.

Posted by Pat Kronlein - The Villages, FL - Friend   February 02, 2020

Gary Beard, my stepbrother and good friend, is now gone from our midst. He will certainly be missed by so many in Lakeview Spartan Land where he served and inspired for more than 61 years. I will miss him for so many reasons, but mainly because he was such a caring and wonderful human being. Gary was a great man of much humility who positively touched countless lives.

There has been such an outpouring of support for Gary and his family this week because Gary or Gerald, as his mother, Evelyn, used to call him, was such a grand person. His life revolved around giving to others especially youth. He had a big and strong heart which pushed him into much school and community involvement resulting in a body of lifetime work which benefited so many and still continues to do so.

Gary will be missed and fondly remembered. In his more than 86 years, he made a difference. He made such a big difference in so many lives. He was truly a man for all seasons, a man for all people.

Marlene and family, grasp strongly to your faith. We are all children of God. God loves each of us. And, therefore, we shall never really die. Take heart! Gary Beard is still living somewhere. He never really died. He only passed on to some other better place. May God always bless you and your loved ones.

Tom Dunton, Battle Creek, Michigan

Posted by Tom Dunton - Battle Creek, MI   January 31, 2020

So sorry to hear about Mr. Beards passing. I have great memories of him from high school. Super fun trips when he and Mrs. Beard would drive us to games in the Spartymobile!

We are out of town, but sending prayers.

Susie (Franklin) Behnke
Class of 1981

Posted by A friend   January 30, 2020

Marlene, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Hattie Lewis and my family

Posted by Hattie Lewis - Battle Creek, MI - Family   January 30, 2020

Gary was a wonderful man. He did so much for so many and asked nothing in return. Our sincere prayers and condolences go out to the Marlene and family. Lakeview and the entire community will miss him dearly.

Posted by Chris and Susan Doyle - FL - Friend   January 29, 2020

Hi Coach...I came to Lakeview from Pennfield while you were a coach at Woodrow. You must have seen something in me that I didn't know was there. You signed me up after only knowing me for thirty days to run the sports school for young students. After that, you taught me umpiring, discipline and reaching for more than I thought was available. I continued umpiring for twenty-eight years and graduated from WMU with a degree in journalism which brought me back to Lakeview for football. I remember your wonderful wife and you phoned me on several occasions setting up a casual date for your niece. I was proud that you trusted me enough for that. You are on my mind and will always be in my heart. My deepest sympathy to Mrs. Beard and family. Greg Erickson LHS 1970 Lakeland, FL

Posted by Greg Erickson - Lakeland, FL - Friend   January 29, 2020

Mr. Beard was a coach and a mentor to me as a kid growing up in Battle Creek. He was someone that made a positive impact on me. He truly is a man that followed his passion and made a difference in the lives of others. Rest In Peace Coach!

Highest Regards,

Posted by Jason Childs - Brentwood, TN - Student   January 29, 2020

Marlene (and family) - I'm so, so sorry to hear of Gary's passing. There are no words.... He was an amazing person and loved you all so very much. His legacy will live on in each of you. Marlene - PLEASE let me know if there's anything at all that you need, my dear friend. I love you.

Posted by Shannon Landers - Battle Creek, MI - Family Friend   January 29, 2020

I didn't know Gary very well personally but when we moved here in 1966 with 3 little boys he was in charge of the little league baseball program in Battle Creek Township .I spoke with him about how to get my kids involved in baseball and he suggested joining as a coach .I followed his suggestion and spent several years coaching in the program meeting many good people along the way .Gary had a personality that made things work and truly represented a life well lived .

Posted by EDWIN OESTERREICH - EAST LEROY, MI - Acquaintance   January 29, 2020

I cannot begin to say what a great friend Mr. Beard was to me. He was good to me through all my years at LHS, and gave me opportunities to work in the athletic department. I'll never forget his kindness when he presented me with an award at the last assembly of my senior year, and shared that my mom was having eye surgery that week so she could see me graduate. I was overwhelmed. Rest in Peace Mr. Beard - you are a good and kind man!!!!

Posted by Jon 'Arnie' Palmer - Omaha, NE - Friend   January 28, 2020

Gary and I began teaching the same day in BC. As a Lakeview graduate I have the highest respect and regard for Gary. He was without question a BC Lakeview Icon.Gary was a tremendous supporter of my grand daughters Kimberly and Karlie and all student athletes at Lakeview. His leadership and loyalty to Lakeview will be greatly missed. My wife Judy and I send Marlene and family our support and sincere condolences.

Posted by Gary Morrison - Lansing, MI   January 27, 2020

Gary was a very good man with a smile on his face everytime you saw him. I was at LHS for about 15 years doing Accessvision sports coverage with Jim Hughes for football & basketball games & he always had us set up in a good spot to be able to do the best job possible announcing the games.

I pitched baseball for years in the BC Stan Musial adult baseball league and he was a great umpire both when behind the plate or in the field. He always remained calm even when those of us who thought he may have missed a pitch or made the wrong safe or out call. I never saw him lose his cool dealing with any players or coaches.

I ran into Gary and 3 of his friends out at Bob Evans restaurant about a month before his passing and before he walked out he stopped at my table and we talked about 10 min. Gary is truly a man many folks will miss having around and chatting with.

RIP Gary you totally led the life where you earned it.

Gary O. Katz

Posted by Gary Katz - Battle Creek, MI   January 27, 2020

Both of our children, Jane-Ellen & Scott were so blessed to have Gary mentor them at LHS. Scott thrived under Mr. Beard's coaching in football & he is a better man & father because of his care. We thank him for for all he has done in his life time.

Posted by A friend   January 27, 2020

Sorry- Gary was a good guy - What he did he did well

Posted by John Sweet - Minneapolis, MN   January 27, 2020

Marlene, Debbie, and Kevin, I'm so sorry for your loss of such a great man. Gary was a wonderful friend and neighbor (as you all are). He never failed to speak to any of us. Am praying for you especially through this very difficult time.
With sympathy,

Posted by Terri Schreffler - Battle Creek, MI - Friend   January 27, 2020

Mr. Beard, what a class act, gentleman, role model. We have been lucky to have him and his entire family in our lives. He, and Mrs. Beard are the kind of people you always, always, looked forward to seeing. I always made a quick joke about how many push ups I did in my high school career credited to being late for Mr. Beards Phys Ed class. GBAD, he will be truly missed, but not forgotten. God bless and Go Spartans!

Posted by Cris & Kriste Vocke & Family - Battle Creek, MI - Family Friend   January 27, 2020

I was so saddened to hear of the passing of a true SPARTAN ICON, Gary Beard. He was known in Battle Creek sports circles and the State of Michigan as "MR. SPARTAN." i met Gary through my father, William "Mack" Campbell, who served as treasurer of the Lakeview Summer Baseball Program. Dad and Gary worked side by side to raise money for equipment to support this very worthwhile program Spartan PURPLE runs through my veins, just as it did for Gary.I'm a 1967 LHS graduate, did Student Teaching and Coaching under Gary and other icons, Buzz McNally, Jim Ritter, Al Gibbs, and Butch Perry.It's been a privilege to work with and learn from all of these fine gentlemen. Mr. Spartan's POSITIVE ATTITUDE was infectious to us all. You'll be greatly missed. R.I.P.

Posted by Randy Campbell - Battle Creek, MI - Friend   January 27, 2020

Dr. Beard, I'm so very sorry for the loss of your dad. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by Verna Meneguzzo - Marshall, MI   January 26, 2020

I first met Gary when I was in the 8th grade as one of his students. He then coached my freshman and then JV football teams. My family has known him from 1958 to the present. My grandchildren have known him as a supporter at Lakeview and an umpire at ballgame. My son has worked with him as he had continuous contact with him as a sports writer. Throu all this time me and my family have gained a great deal from our association with him. He will be greatly missed.

Posted by William Broderick jr. - Battle Creek, MI - Student   January 26, 2020

Remembering Gary Beard
My brother and I first met Gary in September of 1966. We had just moved to Battle Creek and knew no one. Our Dad took us to Woodrow to enroll in Junior High; my brother Gary in 8th grade and me in 7th. As we were waiting to talk to the Principal, Gary walked out of the Principal's office. He looked at the two of us and said, I want you both on the football field after school. From that moment on I was involved in sports and anything else that Gary could find to keep me busy! I became the manager of the equipment room at Woodrow and had to issue balls, uniforms and anything else for intramural sports. I played in intramurals myself as well as football, basketball and track. During the summer I caddied for Gary (Caddy Master) at BCCC. One day he asked me if I would umpire summer league baseball games. So I did that after a day of caddying!
When I went to Lakeview High School in the fall of '68, Coach Beard went too as the new Athletic Director.
After high school I went on to college a long ways away and was not to be seen in Battle Creek for nearly 41 years. I went to a football game (in the same stadium, but sitting on the other side!) for the first time in 2013. As I was climbing into the bleachers I heard a voice calling my name. It was Gary. He had not forgotten me in all those years! He recounted to me the story above about our first day at Woodrow. It was if it had happened yesterday! I
I have had a long career and worked with many people around the world and I have imparted to them what I could of what Gary taught me(about being a good leader!). You see, he always traveled with me and will always be a part of me!
John 16:22
So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

Timothy L. Mehl, Class of 72

Posted by Timothy Mehl - Galesburg, MI - Friend   January 26, 2020

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Growing up on Treehaven next door to the Beard family gave me some of the best memories in my life. Summer days spent swimming and having a blast with Debbie . Mr. Beard drove us to school everyday and if you wanted a ride you better be in the car and ready to go or the station wagon would leave without you. What a wonderful man and role model I was so lucky to know. He will never be forgotten. God bless you all. Ron and Lori (Hougland)King

Posted by Lori King - Battle Creek, MI - Friend   January 26, 2020

A nicer man you will never find.

Posted by Maurice Bauman - Elizabethtown, KY - friend   January 26, 2020

The passing of Gary Beard is a loss to the entire community. I have known Gary for the past 55 years and was privileged to work with him at Lakeview High School. To call Gary Mr. Spartan is so appropriate. He was the heart and soul of the Lakeview athletic program. Whether male or female, major sport or minor sport, he was there to support them all.. Roxanne and I send our condolences to Marlene and all the family. May God comfort you in your loss.

Jim DeWeerd

Posted by Jim DeWeerd - Grand Rapids, MI   January 26, 2020

The passing of Gary Beard is a loss to the entire Battle Creek community. I have known Gary for the past 55 years and was privileged to work with him at Lakeview High School. To call Gary Mr. Spartan is so appropriate. He was the heart and soul of the Lakeview Atletic program. If it was a Lakeview program, whether male or female, major sport or minor sport, he was there to support it all the way. Roxanne and I send our condolences to Marlene and all his family. May god comfort you in your loss .

Posted by Jim De Weerd - Grand Rapids, MI   January 26, 2020

Marlene and family, Fred and I are so sorry about Gary. We loved him and you. We,will remember all of you in our prayers.

Posted by Fred and Lou Bentz - Winter Haven, FL - Friend   January 26, 2020

I have very fond memories of Mr Beard from Woodrow, in the early 60's. My sincere condolences to his loving family, especially to Deb, who I got to know when she worked at Blodgett, in her early career.

Posted by Linda Tuttle - Grand Rapids, MI - Friend   January 26, 2020

I had the pleasure of Gary's friendship for years and enjoyed working with him at WBCK. He was thorough and organized in his work and always a friendly conversationalist. Condolences to his family. You will be missed.

Posted by Dave Eddy - N. Fort Myers, FL and Battle, MI - Friend   January 26, 2020

Gary was a good man and a great public servant.I was blessed to have known him.

Posted by Marv Ratner - Battle Creek, MI   January 26, 2020

What a wonderful kind person Mr. Beard was. He was also our neighbor always waving or stopping to talking, you will be missed Love and Condolences to The Family,

Posted by Mitch and Debbie Miller - MI - Neighbor   January 26, 2020

I am so sorry to hear about Gary. He was a very nice and gentle person and I always enjoyed talking to him. He gave me my first Varsity Basketball contract and I will always be grateful to him.

Posted by David Jackson - Battle Creek, MI - Friend   January 26, 2020

Mr. Beard was a part of my life for 40 years. He was the athletic director when I was in high school. After college when I moved back to Battle Creek he always greeted me with a handsake and that "Gary" smile that everyone loved. I was lucky enough to have him and Marlene involved on both my daughters life as they were friends with his granddaughters and athletics at l
LHS. You will be missed. RIP Mr.Beard.

Posted by Pat Farrell - Family Friend   January 26, 2020

So very saddened by the loss of such a wonderful man. Gary was so much to so many. Always always always supporting to so many. Soar with the angels Gary.... til we meet again.... love ya mama keyes

Posted by Melissa Keyes - Battle Creek, MI - Friend   January 25, 2020

Thank you for wonderful memories and leaving such a great legacy. I'm grateful to have shared so many with the Beard family growing up and still today. Godspeed.

Posted by Jodi Perkins Clock - Muskegon, MI - Family Friend   January 25, 2020

What a great loss. Mr Beard was one of the greatest men I have had the fortune to know. My love and prayers to Marlene and the kids.

Posted by Shawna Dingwall - Vassar, MI - Friend   January 25, 2020

Mrs beard I was deeply sadden when I read this it was a pleasure to have him as a leader of our school. He will be greatly missed. I always loved when I would bump in to you both in the community you both always had hugs for me. You both are truly inspirations to our schools and community. I am sending you and your family loads of love hugs and prayers.

Posted by Lynb Shivley - Battle creek, MI - Student   January 25, 2020

Gary Beard was one of the finest individuals I have had the honor to call "friend." I have known Gary since his early days as a coach and teacher at LHS and have worked with Gary on numerous committees relating to amateur sporting events in Battle Creek, most recently the National Amateur Baseball World Series. Even though declining health forced Gary to the sidelines, a few years ago, Gary continued to lend his support wherever and whenever he could.
Gary will missed and remembered by his family, former coaches, friends at Chapel Hill Church, and former students, which probably numbers in the thousands. His true legacy are all the lives he touched and helped shape, as a teacher, coach, and mentor. Today, Heaven is a better place because Gary is there. Go purple!

Posted by Richard Schlatter - Battle Creek, MI - Friend   January 25, 2020

I am so sorry to hear of Gary's passing. He was such a kind person. I will keep you all in my prayers and thoughts. I still remember typing his papers.

Posted by Sue Post - Battle Creek, MI - Family Friend   January 25, 2020

Gary in my eyes was a great individual. He was a loving and caring person. And Gary truly enjoyed his life and his family. I met Gary when I attended Lakeview High School and Gary was the Athletic Director. When ever I went into his office to talk he always had inspirational words of wisdom and just good advice. I'm sure Gary shared this advice to all who entered his office. God bless you Gary....

Posted by Patrick Flynn - Kalamazoo, MI - Family Friend   January 25, 2020


Family Album