George F. Beasley

He who forgets himself for God’s service
May be sure that God will not forget him. – St. Ignatius

Service, love and kindness to others was the way George F. Beasley lived and how he shall be remembered by many for years to come. 

Born July 7, 1940 in Blytheville, Arkansas, George Franklin was the son of Herbert Lee Beasley and Abby “Ruby” Louise Beasley (neé Myer). Working in the cotton fields by the age of three, George recognized the value of hard work and helping others in his community to support their families and still find time to enjoy life and each other.  George died on July 3, 2020 at 6:20 a.m. in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife, Nancy, and children by his side. 

George married Nancy Margaret Beasley (neé McComb) on September 9, 1961.  Together, they had three children, Timothy Edward Beasley (Kathy) of Genoa, Illinois, Laurel Elizabeth O’Brien (John) of Geneva, Illinois and David Charles Beasley (Diane) of DeKalb, Illinois.  George is survived by his wife, three children and four grandchildren, Griffin John (18), Colin Patrick (16) and Owen George (12) O’Brien and Nolan David Beasley (5) and his brother, Herbert “Dwaine” Beasley, and numerous cousins and extended family; many of whom George considered his brothers and sisters. 

After graduating from Arlington Heights High School, the first in his family to graduate from high school, in 1958, George worked for 7-Up in Chicago.  Then, George worked at Spaulding Fiber, later Richardson Company in DeKalb, Illinois.  George and his family moved to Sycamore in 1962 and made their home there until 2010.  George had a passion for everything Sycamore and invested himself in Chamber of Commerce and Sycamore Spartans in his love off the community and all who live there.  George began working as a State Farm agent in 1974 in Sycamore. 

As his son, Tim, would later share at George’s retirement from State Farm in 2005, it suited him to be a small town insurance agent.  If you had a flooded basement, George would go to your house to help you clean up and dry out.  If you had a car accident, George would meet you at the hospital and remind you that you are important; not the vehicle.  If your young driver wanted to buy motorcycle insurance, George would explain the perils of driving a motorcycle and try to talk the young person out of the purchase altogether.  Tim shared there was a young man in Sycamore who faced many hardships and challenges.  George set out to help him by first guiding him to find a job.  Then, George drove him to work in Rockford for months until the young man had enough money to put a down payment on a reliable car.  Then, he sold him an insurance policy.  Tim remarked, “That was making quota my dad’s way.”

While working in Sycamore, George also gave his time to serving as a Sycamore Jaycee member and President, Sycamore Rotary President. Sycamore Fire and Police Commission and DeKalb Republican Chairperson. 

When he and Nancy decided to move to Portage, Wisconsin to live on Swan Lake for their retirement because Nancy’s family had a cottage there since 1932.  George had learned to water ski there and they agreed that Portage was where they should live and love the rest of their life together.  George did not really retire; but rather further committed himself to service as: a Portage Rotary President and member, Pacific Township Supervisor for ten years, Portage Service Club Association Co-founder (helping to build the Splash Pad and Band Shell), and a part of Positively Portage, a new community foundation. 

George and Nancy are also members of Federated Church in Sycamore, Illinois and the Portage Presbyterian Church in Portage, Wisconsin.  They met in high school singing in the Choraliers, and sang in a variety of singing groups including George’s nearly famous group, The Sycamorons.  George and Nancy also sang at weddings together for many years. 

For eight years in Portage, George got to know Santa Claus well and was able to often connect him with young believers in Portage and Pardeeville who would tell Santa their greatest hopes with stars in their eyes for Christmas morning.  In addition to the agreed upon appearances and Christmas photo opportunities, George also relished those moments he helped Santa find some small children who lived in disadvantaged circumstances and listen to help fulfill their Christmas morning dreams.  George’s connections with Santa Claus brought true magic to even his grandchildren who wondered whether his mom knew their Papa George knew Santa so well. 

George is known by many friends and family as someone who makes a difference.  He cared about every person he met.  He and Nancy have loved welcoming people to  their home and treated everyone like family.  He loves spending time on the lake and traveling with Nancy and others to Marco Island, Florida.  George also spent every bit of time he could with Nancy singing or laughing together and encouraging her efforts as a published author as she conducts her research on the Underground Railroad and the Civil War during their travels.  George could also often be found checking on neighbors and friends or lending a helping hand for anyone he learned needed it.  He truly loves his neighbors.  The poem hanging in George’s home and office by an anonymous author captured how George lived his life:

I have wept in the night for the shortness of sight that to somebody’s needs made me blind; but I have never once felt a tinge of regret for being a little to kind. 

Funeral services will be private. Visitation will be at Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. In order to maintain social distancing standards, 50 people at a time will be allowed inside the funeral home. Masks are requested and will be provided as needed.  Open house will be held at the Northshore Restaurant, W7245 Country Club Road, Portage, Wisconsin on Thursday, July 9, 2020, from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

*If you would like to contribute to a memorial in George’s honor, in lieu of flowers, a scholarship fund has been created through Portage Area Community Charitable Trust (AKA Positively Portage) in George Beasley’s name.

Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage is assisting the family.

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Whether you can join us in person or not, we would love to hear your stories about George! If you would like to contribute to a celebration of George’s 80 years of life, please click on this link. Just a picture or a short story is fine. It is easy and only takes one minute. Thank you! 

For information please call 608 742-2126 (Portage, WI) or 608 635-2763 (Poynette, WI)