Deacon Gerald J. Beeman, 74, of 110 Jackson Ave., passed away Sunday (June 29, 2014) at Bradford Regional Medical Center.
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Born Oct. 5, 1939, in Bradford, he was a son of the late James Jay and Florence M. Cormey Beeman. On Aug. 12, 1961, in St. Bernard Church, he married Kathleen O. Loughlin Beeman, who died on Sept. 12, 2004.
Mr. Beeman was a 1957 graduate of St. Bernard High School. In September of 1957, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was trained as a combat medical corpsman. After three years of service, he was selected for a lengthy training program conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Army, preparing him to become a counterintelligence special operations officer targeted against the intelligence services of the Soviet Union and its allies. He served operational tours of duty in Connecticut, Paris, France, two tours in the Republic of Vietnam, Washington, D.C., Oslo, Norway, Berlin, Germany and retired from active duty as a major at Fort Bliss, Texas. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Army of Occupational Medal (Germany), National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, RVN Campaign Medal; Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry Medal w/palm and 2 Meritorious Service Medals.
He subsequently earned two degrees in academic management and served as a department manager at Texas Tech School of Medicine in El Paso, Texas, and at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington before retiring in 2000 and moving to Bradford.
After five years of study at Gannon University, he was ordained into the Diaconate of the Roman Catholic Church by Bishop Donald Troutman and was assigned to St. Bernard Church, from which he retired due to illness in 2012.
He dedicated his life to the service of the Catholic Church, especially as a teacher of faith at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford and at the Federal Correctional Institution-McKean.
He owed his wife, Kathleen, the motivation and inspiration for his life and loved her deeply from the time they met when they were 17 years old until the day he died. He was most proud of his four sons and what they have accomplished in life.
Surviving are four sons, Mark C. (Shirley) Beeman of Bay City, Mich., Jay G. (Barbie) Beeman of Bradford, Steven M. (Gina) Beeman of Hamburg, N.Y., and John C. (Michelle) Beeman of Fairfax, Va.; a brother, James J. Beeman of San Diego, Calif.; seven grandchildren, Amy Beeman, Cathryn Beeman, Anna Beeman, Jesse Beeman, Jay Beeman II, Thomas Beeman and William Beeman; and three great-grandchildren.
Deacon Gerald J. Beeman will lie in repose on Wednesday in St. Bernard Church, 98 East Corydon St., Bradford. Parishioners and friends may call after 3 p.m. and until 9 p.m. at the church. Parishioners and friends may also attend a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Bernard Church at 11 a.m. Thursday with the Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico, JCL, Bishop of Erie, and the Rev. Raymond Gramata, pastor, as con-celebrants. Committal services and full military honors will be accorded in St. Bernard Cemetery. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Hollenbeck-Cahill Funeral Homes Inc.
Memorials, if desired, may be made to the St. Bernard Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 2394, Bradford, PA 16701; or The Pavilion at BRMC Gardening Fund, 200 Pleasant St., Bradford, PA 16701.
Online condolences may be made at www.hollenbeckcahill.com.
Published in The Bradford Era from July 1 to July 8, 2014