Richard Samuel Beard, 93, died peacefully at his home in Tetonia, Idaho, of causes incident to age, on Saturday, December 21, 2013, with loved ones at his side.
Sam was born at home on April 25, 1920, at Chapin, Teton Valley, Idaho, to Richard Stephen Beard and Pansy Woolstenhulme Beard, the second of seven children. Most of his growing up years were spent on the family farm and ranch in the Tetonia area where he also attended school, graduated from the 8th grade, then devoted his time to helping his parents provide for their growing family during very economically depressed times. In 1941 he enlisted in the Army Air Corp and served four years during World War II.
During that time, he married his sweetheart from Teton Valley, Ella Kaufman, on October 6, 1943, at Pendleton, Oregon. Their marriage was later solemnized in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple. To this union were born three children.
Sam was a true Western American who enjoyed working with horses and cattle, including oxen he trained to pull. Hard work came natural for him. Others who recognized his work ethic invited him to work for them. He once remarked that as a young man he never had to ask for a job -- employers came to him.
In 1950, without applying, he was offered a job with Teton County Road Department operating motor graders and snow plows. For many years he was one of only three operators in Teton County, single-handedly maintaining all roads in the north end of Teton Valley. Sam was a perfectionist and conscientious in his work, almost to a fault. Those living along his roads appreciated and praised his work during his 35 years of service -- and even after his retirement. A common compliment given him till his dying day was, "Nobody could take care of our roads like Sam!" Following Sam's retirement in 1985, he continued to work part time for the county and for private road construction contractors until he was nearly 80 years old. During his working years he also raised hay and a few cattle, and enjoyed welding for himself and for others. He hunted and fished, and built a new home for his family. And he served faithfully for many years on the Tetonia City Council.
During retirement years he constructed nearly 100 toy excavators large enough for a child to sit on and operate. These he gave to grandchildren and great-grandchildren, friends of the family, and some were sold for the cost of the materials.
Sam was a quiet, soft-spoken man, doing his best to not offend others. The morning of the day he died, he and his wife shoveled a little snow off the driveway, Sam had his hair cut, they attended a memorial service, shopped for groceries, and enjoyed lunch in town, being greeted warmly and receiving hugs everywhere they went, a common occurrence and something Sam much appreciated. His remarkably good health was one of his greatest blessings and a marvel to all who knew him.
He died an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He seldom missed Sunday services; only an occasional bad cold kept him away. His dedication was an inspiration to many. Sam and Ella celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary earlier this year.
Sam was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers Merlon Beard and Joe Beard; and a sister Elda Jacobsen.
He is survived by his loving wife, Ella of Tetonia; a son, LaVere of Tetonia; a son, Clint (Beverly) of Idaho Falls; a daughter, Debbie Scott of Jackson, Wyoming; seven grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren; sisters, Eva Smith of Rexburg, Betty Burgener (Bill) of Sandy, Oregon, and Rexburg, and James G. Beard of Tetonia.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, December 28, at the Tetonia LDS meetinghouse with Bishop Brent Robson conducting. Family will receive friends from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday and from 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Saturday, both at the church. Burial will be in Cache-Clawson Cemetery near Tetonia. Services are under the care of Valley Mortuary in Driggs.
Condolences may be sent to P.O. Box 122, Tetonia, ID 83452, or online at www.valleymortuarydriggs.com.