Dr. Willard Beattie

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Dr. Willard Horatio Beattie of Las Cruces, N.M., passed away peacefully in the Health Care Center of Good Samaritan Village on April 6, 2014, at the age of 87. Will, as he was known by friends and family, retired to Las Cruces in 1989 after 23 years in Los Alamos, N.M., where he raised a family and worked as a research chemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Born March 3,1927, in Oak Park, Ill., to Louis and Anna Beattie, Will was the younger of two boys, predeceased by his older brother Wesley Beattie. As a young boy, Will took an interest in science and especially chemistry, starting with some basic chemistry sets in the basement of the family home. He grew up during the depression and his family was heavily affected by these hard times. This inspired Will to overcome the hardships and follow his dream of someday working in the field of science. He finished his high school education at Glenbard High in Glen Ellyn, Ill., and was immediately enlisted into the U.S. Navy at the very end of WWII. He was able to pursue higher education using the GI Bill, attending the University of Chicago for his bachelor's degree in liberal arts and master's in chemistry. Between work and a second Navy enlistment, where he served in the Korean War, he studied and earned his Ph.D from the University of Minnesota in 1958. He then moved his young family to California, were he was assistant professor of chemistry at Long Beach State College for six years. Will was keenly interested in conservation of the environment and especially public lands where he enjoyed hiking, camping and photography. He was a member of the Sierra Club, Native Plant Society and enjoyed gardening. Will was active most of his adult life in the Unitarian Church. He joined the Unitarian Church in 1945 while living in Chicago. He was an active humanitarian and in retirement he volunteered in Las Cruces schools where he gave fun science demonstrations to inspire kids. In 2010, he received the New Mexico Governor's lifetime achievement award for 15 years of volunteering. He is survived by Virginia Beattie, his wife of 59 years, and his three daughters, Andrea (Nelson) of Olathe, Kan., Joan (Darnell) of Anchorage, Alaska, Cora (Patterson) of Las Cruces; four grandchildren, Sonja Nelson, Irene Nelson, Anna Darnell, Ellen Patterson and Ian Patterson, one great-grandson, Andre Thomas, and his niece Rebecca Beattie. A memorial service in celebration of his life will be held at 2 p.m. on May 3, 2014, at the Las Cruces Unitarian Church, 2000 S. Solano. Arrangements are with Getz Funeral Home 1410 E. Bowman Ave Las Cruces NM 88001. To sign the local online guest book visitwww.GetzCares.com.
Funeral Home
Las Cruces, NM 88001
(575) 526-2419
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on Apr. 17, 2014
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