OBITUARY

Lt. Col. Fred O. Beach, USAF (Retired)

July 22, 1922September 11, 2019
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Lt. Col. Fred Orville Beach (USAF Ret.), a WWII pilot, slipped the bonds of this life Wednesday evening, September 11, 2019 after a fulfilling 97 years.

Fred O. Beach was born on July 22, 1922 in Bradley, Illinois as the 9th of 11 children to Clara and Adam Beach, owners and purveyors of the local grocery. In 1933 he enjoyed a trip to Chicago for the World’s Fair after recovering from an appendectomy, which was the first time he ever went to a doctor. His physical constitution remained stout throughout his life, rarely requiring intervention and quickly recovering from each illness. Fred O. Beach voluntarily joined the Army in 1942 and was sworn in as one of 10,000 cadets in an induction at Soldier Field, Chicago. He was called to the Army Air Corps in 1943 where he first learned to fly in open cockpit biplanes. Stationed at Rattlesden Air Field in England, he flew 34 missions over Germany when the standard was 25.

After WWII, Fred Beach married Joanne E. McKey in 1946 and settled in Long Beach, California where their sons Stephen and Jeffrey were born. Recalled by the Air Force for service during the Korean War he flew many reconnaissance missions from Alaska and Japan. During the Vietnam War, Captain Fred O. Beach briefed General William Westmoreland, Commander of US Forces, on theater wide military operations on a daily basis. Later in his Air Force career, Lt. Col. Fred O. Beach led the 2nd Aircraft Delivery Group Detachment and traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Lt. Col. Beach flew over 25 different aircraft for a total of 8700 flight-hours for the U.S. Air Force during his entire 34-year career. During WWII and the 1950’s, he piloted some of the most iconic prop planes of the 20th century including the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, the three-tailed Lockheed RC-121 Constellation (“Connie”) and the Boeing B-50 Superfortress. While winding down his career stationed at Goose Bay, Labrador, Fred Beach met Paula Keller, a Civilian Personnel Manager, his current wife of 43 years. She was transferred to Mountain Home, Idaho where they married. They were subsequently stationed at Lajes Field, Azores where after 4 years Paula retired. She and Fred Beach returned to the United States and settled in Clovis, New Mexico where they cared for her mother. Eventually they moved to El Paso, Texas where they built the home and friendships they lived in for 25 years.

As a caring and devoted brother and father, Fred Beach spent a great deal of energy and time caring for his extended family. An insatiable traveler, he made frequent trips to Central and South America, most often by means of a cruise ship. A life-long Chicago Cubs fan, he was beyond thrilled to have lived long enough to see his beloved team win the World Series. Fred O. Beach lived his life large and on his own terms and he left this life in the same way.

He is remembered by his wife, Paula, and children, Stephen F Beach of Gaithersburg, MD, Melody B. McCormick of Cedar Park, Texas, Richard S. Keller of Belton, Missouri, and David B. Keller of London, England, along with 12 grandchildren.

Services

  • Funeral Service Thursday, September 19, 2019
  • Graveside Service Friday, September 20, 2019

Memories

Lt. Col. Fred O. Beach, USAF (Retired)

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Eric Beach

September 22, 2019

Uncle Freddy and Paula used to come visit my grandparents John and Margret Beach. They were always very kind and Paula was such a lovely person. Uncle Freddy used to tell me stories about the brothers and sisters. He will always be remembered and loved.

Eric Beach

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