Earle Anderson Beasley, 92, of Pagosa Springs, passed away on Feb. 8 at Pine Ridge Extended Care Center. He was born on Sept. 30, 1923, in Wilson, N.C., the eldest child of Willie D. and Lessie Smith Beasley.
He is survived by his wife, Betty J. Beasley, of Pagosa Springs; son Mark Beasley, of Pagosa Springs; daughter Jan Beasley, of Pagosa Springs; daughter Sue Jackson and husband John of Mancos, Colo.; daughter-in-law Joan Landau, of Littleton, Colo.; grandchildren: Naomi Stoller, Dawn Beasley, Noah Beasley, Tyrel Jackson, Jori Beasley, Jack Jackson; great-granddaughter Chenoa Beasley; and many nieces and nephews. Earle is predeceased by his parents, son Michael Beasley, sister Evelyn Steijn, and brothers Eustace, W.D. and Cooper.
Earle married Betty Jean Harrover on May 18, 1946, in her hometown of Alva, Okla., where they met in 1943 at a Halloween church dance on her 17th birthday. They enjoyed a long and full life as a devoted couple and would have celebrated 70 years of marriage in May.
After graduating from high school in North Carolina, he worked on the family farm, then joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943, serving stateside and in the South Pacific until he was honorably discharged in 1946. He then went on to earn a B.S. in physics and math at Northwest Oklahoma State University and University of Oklahoma.
From 1950 to 1967, his career as an officer in the U.S. Air Force provided the opportunity for Earle, Betty and the family to experience many different places and create lasting memories and friendships through work, school and church. During these years, he specialized in weapons and engineering work, including projects such as maintaining and testing nuclear weapons, and combat applications field testing. Retiring as a major, he maintained a lifelong interest in the military and veterans groups. A favorite event was the annual Veterans Day breakfast hosted by the Pagosa Springs Middle School eighth-grade class.
Upon his retirement from the Air Force, the family relocated to Gunnison, Colo., where he accepted a sabbatical position as physics professor at Western State College. For the next several years, the family lived in the Denver area, where Earle worked as executive of a small manufacturing firm. He then obtained his secondary teaching certification, and began his teaching career in 1974 at Pagosa Springs High School, teaching math and science until retirement in 1984. Living in Pagosa Springs fulfilled Earle and Betty’s dream to live in the mountains of southwest Colorado, near Betty’s childhood family cabin in South Fork. Earle loved being a part of the Pagosa Springs community, through school activities and community organizations, serving on the boards of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association and La Plata Electric Association. He had a keen interest in politics and current affairs and was very active in the local Republican Party, serving on the Archuleta County Republican Central Committee.
Earle was an avid gardener and loved being outdoors. He enjoyed many activities and hobbies, including cross-country skiing, running, hiking and fishing. He was at one time known as the “Puzzle Man” for his solutions to the weekly Puzzle Corner in the Durango Herald. He and Betty traveled to many locations throughout the country and loved the southwest region. He especially valued spending time with family and friends, and was always eager to support and help when needed. Earle was a renowned storyteller and was never at a loss for words, or short on opinions, as evidenced by his frequent letters to the editor.
Earle was a man of deep integrity, loyalty, commitment and strength. He was greatly loved and will be greatly missed.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 12, 2016, at the PLPOA Clubhouse, 230 Port Ave., Pagosa Springs. Pastor Alan TeBrink will officiate. A committal service with military honors and burial will take place at 11:15 a.m. on Monday, March 14, at Santa Fe National Cemetery, 501 North Guadalupe St., Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Veterans Memorial Park of Archuleta County (VMPAC), P.O. Box 2642, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.