Obituary Details

R. Kenneth Beach

(06/13/1918 - 11/22/1997)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 12/03/1997

R. Kenneth Beach, 79, of Laramie, died Saturday, Nov. 22, 1997, at Ivinson Memorial Hospital.

He was born in a sod house in the sand hills near Ringold, Neb., the youngest of three boys born to Thomas and Ceycle (Reed) Beach. The family farmed and ran a small grocery store there, later moving to Montana for a few years, returning to a farm north of Lusk.

The boys attended a small one-room school house not far from home. When they were ready for high school the family moved to Lusk.

Following his graduation from Lusk High School he attended the University of Wyoming graduating with honors in electrical engineering in 1940. His brothers also graduated from UW the same year. He earned his master's degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago in 1941 and took a job with Curtis Wright Propeler Divisions in New Jersey.

He married Charleen Scace, also a graduate of Lusk High School. they were both part of many musical groups and part of the Congregational youth groups. They were married in January 1942 and immediately moved to New Jersey. Two boys were born to them in New Jersey and their family later moved to Idaho following World War II, where he helped his father for awhile waiting for a position to be available at UW.

The family moved to Laramie where Mr. Beach taught for a year in mechanical engineering, then transferred to electrical engineering where he taught for the remainder of his teaching career. He became an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering in 1949, associate professor in 1954, and professor in 1958, remaining in the position until 1983 when he retired as professor emeritus, Electrical Engineering college of UW.

He had also served as acting head of the Department of Electrical Engineering.

While at the university he served capacities including a faculty counselor of Wyoming Student Branch of IEEE, District 6 AEEE, chairman of the student activities committee, served on the university committee on probation and dismissals.

His professional memberships were many, as well as serving in several positions over the years, such as a registered professional engineer in Wyoming No. 182, president of the Bellamy Chapter of NSPE, and IEEE committee as chairman of Region 5 student activities and area manager for Wyoming and South Dakota, he served as president of the Wyoming Society of Professional Engineers, the Wyoming Engineering Society and was a life member of the IEEE, NSPE, ASEE, EXI and the B.P.O. Elk's Lodge No. 582.

His community involvement in the Boy Scouts was in all areas, and he was awarded the highest honor, the Silver Beaver Award, in May of 1967. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church, serving as head usher from 1965 until 1990. He had been a Sunday school teacher, on the board of trustees, served on the Worship Committee, been in the pageant of the Last Supper, and had received the "Silent Disciple" Award and Methodist Man of the Year in 1991. Mr. Beach was also active in the Wyoming Church Coalition, on the personnel committee and a representative to the chaplain's support committee. He also served as state coordinator for marriage encounter.

He is survived by his wife, Charleen Beach of Laramie; three sons, David A. Beach of Grand Rapids, Minn.; Charles T. Beach of Bokchito, Okla., and John R. Beach of Greeley, Colo.; a daughter, Peggy Ann LaPoint of Lubbock, Texas; two brothers, Rex Beach of Huntington Beach, Calif., and Raymond Beach of Laguna Beach, Calif.; nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Memorial services were held Monday, Dec. 1, at 10:30 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church, the Rev. G. Bruce Maxwell officiating.

Memorials may be made to the Ken Beach Scholarship Fund, University of Wyoming Foundation, University of Wyoming, P.O. Box 3963, Laramie, WY 82071 or the First United Methodist Church, 1215 Gibbon St., Laramie, WY 82071.

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