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W. Louis Beecher

Obituary Condolences

W. Louis Beecher Obituary
W. Louis Beecher


W. Louis Beecher, 90, of Waterloo died Monday, April 30 at the Cedar Valley Hospice Home.

Born on September 17th, 1921 in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, Louis was the son of John and Luella Beecher. Upon graduation from Immaculate Conception High School in Elma, Iowa, Louis enrolled at Loras College at the age of 16. He continued his education at The University of Iowa receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in May 1942. Louis married Gertrude Murray on November 17th, 1943, at Saint Joseph's Catholic Church in New Hampton, Iowa. She preceded him in death January 27th, 2007.

Louis served in the U.S. Army Air Corps from May 1942, through June 1946. He was a flight instructor at Perrin Field, Texas before being assigned as a pilot and Captain in the Troop Carrier Command with service in Africa, Egypt, Iran, India, Burma, China, Manchuria and French Indochina. Louis received the Air Medal for meritorious flight on December 8th, 1945 over North China Sea. He remained in the U. S. Air Corps Reserve until 1959, retiring with the rank of Captain.

At the end of WWII, Louis reentered the Iowa College of Law, and received his Juris Doctorate degree with Distinction in 1947. He entered the practice of law with his late uncle, W.L. Beecher, and had practiced law continuously in Waterloo since June 1947. He was Senior Partner in the Beecher Law Firm.

Mr. Beecher was deeply committed to the growth and vitality of the Cedar Valley and enjoyed many years of involvement in civic and business expansion projects. Louis provided legal counsel for several hallmark Waterloo business projects including the establishment of Black Hawk Broadcasting Company and local NBC TV affiliate KWWL; the R. J. McElroy Trust, the expansion of the John Deere Waterloo Operations at East Donald St., KBBG Radio, Waterloo Municipal Airport and numerous other local and regional business, civic and recreational initiatives.

Louis served as Chairman of the Board: National Bank of Waterloo, St. Francis Hospital, Trustee Iowa College Foundation and Wartburg College. He was also past president of the Waterloo Industrial Development Association and the Waterloo Chamber of Commerce.

Louis was humbled to receive many honors during his lifetime including the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame Award, Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber Legacy Award, The Courier Eight over Eighty Award, and the Honorary Doctorate of Letters and Humanities from Allen Hospital School of Nursing. He and Gertrude were also inducted to the Columbus High School Hall of Fame. He was a member of the Black Hawk County Bar Association, Iowa State Bar Association, The Waterloo Elks Club, and St. Edward Catholic Church.

Louis Beecher was a deeply patriotic man, with great respect and admiration for the country and communities he served throughout his life. Louis was also a warm and gracious gentleman, enjoying time spent with his family and many dear friends, business and legal associates. Louis had a life long love of flying and aviation and humbly shared his many enriching stories of life as a young United States Air Corp Captain flying transport aircraft in World War II. Those closest to Louis will also remember his fondness for restoring antique cars and the pleasure of a good cigar.

Although Louis will be remembered for his incomparable contributions to the betterment of Waterloo and the Cedar Valley over the past 50 years, he will also be fondly missed by his many clients, associates and friends with whom he felt fortunate to have shared his long and blessed life.

Louis is survived by three sons; J. Michael Beecher (Donna) of West Des Moines, William L. Beecher (Desa) of Tacoma, WA., Thomas G. Beecher of Chandler, AZ.; two daughters, Elizabeth Beecher Petersen (Robert), and Mary Beecher Petersen (Eric) both of Waterloo.

He is also survived by his grandchildren: Robert and Katherine Petersen, Cal and Annie Petersen, all of Waterloo; Meghan Beecher of Scottsdale, AZ, Jennifer and Benjamin Beecher of Tacoma, WA, Todd Ensz of Phoenix, AZ, Melanie Kimball of Centerville, SD; one great grandchild, Emma Murray Kimball; his sisters Ronnie Riley and LuAnn Hutchins, both of Charles City, Iowa, Mary Jane Richmond of Paynesville, MN, and brother Bernard Beecher of Waterloo.

Louis was preceded in death by his wife Gertrude, parents John and Luella Beecher, and brothers Gerald and Edward.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 5, 2012 at St. Edward Catholic Church, 1423 Kimball Avenue, Waterloo, Iowa, with burial in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, where full military rites will be conducted by Waterloo Amvet Post 19, Evansdale Amvet Post 31 and the Iowa Army Honor Guard. Visitation; Friday, May 4, from 3 to 8 p.m. at St. Edward Catholic Church, with a 7 p.m. vigil. Hagarty-Waychoff-Grarup Funeral Service on West Ridgeway is in charge of arrangements.

Donations in memory of Louis may be directed to R. J. McElroy Trust 425 Cedar St. Suite 312, Waterloo, Iowa, 50701 The Iowa College Foundation 505 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1034, Des Moines, Iowa 50309, WDC Cedar Valley SportsPlex P.O. Box 88, Waterloo, Iowa 50704, or a .

Condolences may be left with www.hagartywaychoffgrarup.com.

Published in Des Moines Register on May 3, 2012
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