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Gerald R. Beekman

July 6, 1930 December 31, 2017
Gerald R. Beekman
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Obituary for Gerald R. Beekman

Colonel Gerald R. Beekman U.S. Army retired died on December 31, 2017. A resident of Oconto, son of the late John and Marie Beekman, was born on July 6, 1930. On May 24, 1952 he married LuLaine Ragen at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Oconto. They raised seven children. Being a military family they lived and attended schools all over the U.S. and five years in Europe where they received a worldly education from travel. Upon graduation from Oconto High School in 1948, Colonel Beekman enlisted in the military service which spanned 30 years. He rose in rank from Private to Colonel. His military duties alternated between Infantry and Aviation. After basic training he completed Airborne jump school and was assigned to the 82d Airborne Division. He served in the Korean War in 1950, as an infantry rifle squad leader with the famed 27th Infantry Regiment (Wolfhounds) where he was awarded the coveted Combat Infantry Badge. Colonel Beekman completed Army flight school in 1954, and was designated an Army Aviator qualified in both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. In 1966, he served in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot with the 1st Cavalry Division. In 1971, he served again in Vietnam as a battalion commander with the 101st Airborne Division. His awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and seven Air Medals. He has also been awarded several Meritorious Service medals. Colonel Beekman graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1962 through a military program called “bootstrap” and an additional Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1965. His last military assignments were on the Department of the Army staff at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. where he was involved in a major project of creating a separate Army Aviation Branch in the Army. He then served as the Senior Army Advisor to the Wisconsin Army National Guard. After retirement, Colonel Beekman established the Oconto Aviation Service which was a flying school where he personally trained pilots for their pilot’s license. He served nearly 40 years on the Oconto City Council, chairman of the Police and Fire Commission, chairman of the Oconto Airport Commission and served on the Oconto County Board of Supervisors where he was chairman of the Law Enforcement and Personnel and Wages Committees for many years. He was a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans and Knights of Columbus.
Colonel Beekman is survived by his loving wife of 65 years; seven children and their families; Debra (Walt) Tegge, Steven (Lu) Beekman, Gaile (Steve) Stranz, Robert (Cheri) Beekman, Leonard Beekman, Gary Beekman (Wendy), and Kenneth (Lisa) Beekman: thirteen grandchildren; Jason, Andy (Mandy) Tegge, Erin Lebron, Tracy Beekman, Jake, Will & Krissi Stranz, Kady (John) Martin, Abbie, Sammie, & Chris Beekman, Lindsey (Victor) Kuehl, Sara Beekman: great-grandchildren; Tony, Kyle, Jaxson, Ava, Jaedyn and Eleanor. Three brothers, four sisters and parents predeceased him.
The family will receive relatives and friends at the Gallagher Funeral Home, Oconto, from 4 to 8 PM Thursday, January 4, 2018. Visitation will continue from 9 to 11 AM Friday, January 5 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church. Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated 11 AM Friday at the church with the Rev. Bob Karuhn officiating. Burial will be at the Oconto Catholic Cemetery with Military Rites by all Oconto Veteran organizations. Online condolences may be expressed at www.gallagherfuneralhome.net.
The family would like to thank Dr. Thomas Smith, Nurse Jean & the staff at DaVita dialysis center for their guidance and care over the past two years and Heartland Hospice for their kindness and compassion during this difficult time. Also the pastoral care from Holy Trinity Church.

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Previous Events

Visitation

Thursday

4

Jan

4:00 PM 1/4/2018 4:00:00 PM - 8:00 PM 1/4/2018 8:00:00 PM
Gallagher Funeral Home & Cremation Service

217 Congress St.
Oconto, WI 54153

Gallagher Funeral Home & Cremation Service
217 Congress St. Oconto 54153 WI
United States

Service

Thursday

4

Jan

7:00 PM 1/4/2018 7:00:00 PM
Gallagher Funeral Home & Cremation Service

217 Congress St.
Oconto, WI 54153

Prayer service by Deacon Walter Kaszynski.

Gallagher Funeral Home & Cremation Service
217 Congress St. Oconto 54153 WI
United States

Visitation

Friday

5

Jan

9:00 AM 1/5/2018 9:00:00 AM - 11:00 AM 1/5/2018 11:00:00 AM
Holy Trinity Catholic Church

300 Arbutus Avenue
Oconto, WI 54153

Holy Trinity Catholic Church
300 Arbutus Avenue Oconto 54153 WI
United States

Service

Friday

5

Jan

11:00 AM 1/5/2018 11:00:00 AM
Holy Trinity Catholic Church

300 Arbutus Avenue
Oconto, WI 54153

Mass of Christian burial by Rev. Bob Karuhn.

Holy Trinity Catholic Church
300 Arbutus Avenue Oconto 54153 WI
United States

Cemetery Details

Location

Oconto Catholic Cemetery Final Resting Place

Oconto, WI 54153

Oconto 54153 WI
United States
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