On June 12, 2017, Areles Gene Beer left this earth in peace at the Westminster-Thurber senior living community in Columbus, Ohio. He was 88.
The son of a coal miner and Sunday school teacher, Gene, as he was known to family and friends, was born in March, 1929. He spent his formative years in Kenmore, Ohio (near Akron), graduating from Kenmore High School, the University of Akron and, later, Case Western Reserve University. He married Frances Rose Burkhart in 1953 and they soon embarked on a military journey that stationed them in Georgia, Texas, California, Germany (Fulda and Bad Hersfeld) and, ultimately, Kentucky, where he managed the Patton Museum of Armor at Fort Knox before transitioning to the U.S. Army Reserve in 1962.
While serving as a reserve officer, Gene and Frances settled in Macedonia, Ohio, where he began a second career in his true passion of social work. His legacy of helping disadvantaged communities was immeasurable: As a high school teacher, he taught those with learning disabilities. As Director of the Twinsburg Heights Community Center, he fought to bring water and sewer infrastructure to an impoverished minority community. As an advisor to the Chrysler Institute, he provided automotive manufacturing training to violent and nonviolent ex-felons trying to turn over a new leaf. As President of the Human Behavioral Institute, he developed one of the first positive thinking and motivational programs for organizations and their personnel. And as Director of the East End Neighborhood House in Cleveland, he implemented recreation, day care, and nutrition programs for both at-risk youth and struggling seniors living below the poverty line.
Gene began a third stage of serving others upon joining the United Way in 1975 – first in Cleveland, then in Ashtabula (Ohio), and then in Erie County (Pennsylvania), where he became the Executive Director in 1983, retiring in 1992. The list of agencies aided and funded under his leadership at the United Way are too numerous to mention.
In 2003, Gene and Frances relocated to Columbus, Ohio, where they enjoyed their retirement years together until Frances’ untimely passing in 2009. He is also preceded in death by his father and mother, Theodore and Bessie Beer. He is survived by his two brothers, Carlos (Diane) Beer and Theodore (Juanita – deceased) Beer, sons Gregory (Mary - deceased) Beer and Geoffrey (Sandra) Beer, and daughter Aimee (Matthew) Wellejus. His memory also survives in six loving grandchildren – Grace (Tyler) Evans, Jordan, Hannah and Irene Beer, and Marshall and Emerson Wellejus.
Family and friends are invited to pay their last respects on Saturday, July 1st, 10:30 A.M., at a memorial service and internment ceremony to be held at the Resurrection Cemetery, 9571 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43035, to be followed by a reception and luncheon at the nearby Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to either the Ohio Living Foundation, Westminster-Thurber location, Life Care designation, www.ohioliving.org/foundation, 717 Neil Avenue, Columbus, OH 43215, or to the United Way of Erie County, www.unitedwayerie.org, in memory of Gene and Fran Beer, 420 West 6th Street, Suite 200, Erie, PA 16507. Also, please feel free to visit his Guest Book at www.shaw-davis.com/listings.