LESTER THOMPSON BEITEL BYRON - Lester Thompson Beitel died early Wednesday, May 22, 2013, at Neighbors Rehabilitation Center, Byron, IL, from complications of Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia and Alzheimer's. He was born on April 15, 1920, on the Lee County side of Lee, Illinois, the son of Lester Delos and Affa Naomi (Thompson) Beitel. It was his mother's 31st birthday and his parents' first wedding anniversary. He graduated from Shabbona High school in June 1938. A proud veteran of WWII, he served as a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Corps, 8th Air Force. Stationed in northern England with the Combat Crew Replacement Group and later the 96th Bomb Wing, he was the personal driver for Brig. General Walter Peck, and one time had the honor of having Jimmy Stewart as one of his passengers. Following his discharge from the Army, he began working for Illinois Northern Utilities (now Commonwealth Edison) where he worked for over 36 years until his retirement in 1982. He also spent some of his early years as a photographer. He married Cheryl L. Wolf on her parents' farm at Sheffield, Illinois on September 16, 1950. They lived in Dixon, Illinois until moving to Byron in 1970. She predeceased him on March 18, 1977. Tommy later married longtime family friend, Alice Thomson on December 28, 1978. She passed away on October 5, 2005. Tommy was a member of Byron Masonic Lodge #274 AF & AM where he served as Past Master, Secretary, and Treasurer and was also Past Master and Secretary of Friendship Lodge #0007 in Dixon. He was also a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason and a member of the Freeport Consistory. He received his 60 year pin from the American Legion in 2010. He was also an active member of the United Church of Byron, where he at one time served as treasurer. He enjoyed listening to music, especially the Big Bands and loved playing and watching the game of baseball. He was a devoted son, husband, father and grandfather. Tommy is survived by his two children, Greg (Sandra) Beitel and Marsha (Mike) Gyorkos of Byron; nine grandchildren, Chad Beitel, Eric Beitel, Kara (James Horner) Beitel, Kimberly Gyorkos, Casey Meyer, all of Byron, Jeff Gyorkos of Rockford, Jessica (EJ Manteufel) Meyer of Milwaukee, Wis., Joshua Beitel of Rockford, Jason Beitel of London, England; nine great-grandchildren, several nieces and nephews. He was also predeceased in by his brother, Milton J. Beitel of Casper, Wyoming. The family wishes to thank the caring staff at Neighbors Rehabilitation Center for the compassionate, loving and tender care that he received there the last two years. Also special thanks to the Passages Hospice staff for all they did to assist him and his family. Funeral service will be 2 p.m. Saturday, May 25, 2013, at the United Church in Byron, with the Rev. Michael Mulberry, pastor of the church officiating. Burial will be in the Chapel Hill Memorial Park in Dixon. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday evening at the Farrell Holland Gale Funeral Home, 506 West Merchant St., in Byron. A memorial fund is established for the United Church of Byron. Please visit farrellhollandgale.com.
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Published in Rockford Register Star from May 23 to May 24, 2013
Farrell-Holland-Gale Funeral Home
506 W Merchant St Byron, IL 61010