Jerry Harold Beacham, 75, of New Haven and Salisbury
NEW HAVEN/SALISBURY — Jerry Harold Beacham, 75, passed away at home in the loving arms of his wife and children on April 7, 2021. He had been diagnosed with ALS in 2018, an incurable, fatal disease, but had most likely been suffering from it since at least 2012. ALS may have robbed him of his physical strength, but never his emotional strength. The night before he died, in quiet conversations, he chose the hawk as his spirit animal to soar through the sky. As he laid down on his hospital bed on that beautiful sunny morning, a majestic hawk landed in a tree just off the deck, as if to say, “follow me … it will be okay.” Jerry passed without hesitation or fear.
Jerry was born Sept. 17, 1945, in a San Francisco suburb near the end of World War II. His mother was a “Rosie the Riveter” in the shipyards and his father worked as a carpenter building camps for the armed forces. After the war his family headed back to Arkansas to take up farming and then in 1950 they moved to the suburbs of Chicago to find more opportunities for a better life and settled in the town of Downers Grove. Jerry graduated from high school there and went on to earn a B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1967.
Next began a series of moves around the country to eight different states, finally arriving in Vermont in 1979, where he and his family took up residence in East Middlebury. He opened his State Farm Insurance Agency on Sept. 1, 1979, at 75 Court Street in Middlebury and remained there for the next 33 years, until his retirement in 2012.
In 1993 Jerry married Jackie Weldon Seubert, a loving union that brought together two families, numerous friends and years of happy memories, making “family” the most important aspect in their lives. In 1998 Jackie and Jerry moved from Cornwall to their newly rebuilt retirement home in New Haven.
Back in 1979 Jerry had the opportunity to live any place in the northeast, but it was Vermont that drew him. Hunting, fishing, boating, snow skiing, water skiing, tennis, platform tennis, scuba diving, hiking, camping, softball, basketball and golf were all activities he enjoyed. His favorite location was their cottage on Lake Dunmore in Salisbury, which Jackie and Jerry bought in 1996. It became a draw for family and friends — where summer days were spent on the dock and cocktail time began at 4 p.m. Two other special places Jerry loved were “Bird Camp” on the shores of Flagstaff Lake in western Maine and the Slocum Deer Camp in Ripton.
Jerry was predeceased by his parents, Harold and Elva (Evans); his first son, Jeffrey Martin; and his in-laws, Ronald and Gisele Weldon. Jerry is survived by his loving wife, Jackie; son Todd Beacham and his children, Sean (Zoe), Patrick and Karinna of Portland, Maine; daughter Erin Bogart (Dave) and sons JJ and Jameson of Reno, Nev.; son Aaron Seubert (Jenn Clifford) and children Ollie, Evie, Asher and Wylie of South Burlington; and daughter Amanda Seubert and daughters Chloe and Alexandra of Middlebury. He is also survived by his sister, Jean Fleming (Dave) and nephew Jordan of California; sister-in-law Michelle Margarone and nephew Nicholas (Amanda); sister-in-law Chris Reid (Ron) and niece Leah (James); and his ex-wife Chris Bannerman. Last but not least, Jerry is survived by his endless dear friends who visited, called and celebrated him. Ever a patient listener, Jerry offered both sound and wise advice, always genuine with his larger-than-life smile.
Jerry wanted to express his gratitude to his primary care physician, Dr. Peter Wilhelm, his Palliative Care physician, Dr. Diana Barnard, who was and is a true treasure, and hospice nurse Kathy Brande in helping him deal with this terrible disease and the end of his life. Appreciation is also extended to the many staff members of the ALS clinic at Fannie Allen for their warmth and caring advice.
Memorial contributions in Jerry’s name may be made to the ALS Association of NNE, 10 Ferry St., Suite 438, Concord, N.H, 03301; Addison County Home Health and Hospice, PO Box 754, Middlebury, VT 05753; the Palliative Care Department, Porter Medical Center, 115 Porter Dr., Middlebury, VT 05753; or Patient Choices Vermont, Act 39 Advocacy Organization, PO Box 671, Shelburne, VT 05482.
Jerry chose Act 39, Death with Dignity, which gave him great peace of mind. Selfless to the end, never angry, never complaining, he was a true inspiration to us all and we will carry him in our hearts.
A celebration of Jerry’s life will be held at the family cottage on Lake Dunmore this summer.◊