The Beach family has certainly dealt with heartbreak in their lives. Shortly after he graduated from Texas A&M University, Lois Beach’s son Michael ’74 passed away unexpectedly of viral pneumonia while serving as a Naval ensign on the USS Roark. Seven years later, her 60-year old husband, Texas A&M Professor William “Bill” Beach, also died.
In response, Lois, her daughter Sally ’81 and her son Dan ’78 vowed to create something positive out of these tragedies. Since the importance of education was always emphasized in the Beach household, helping Texas A&M students in memory of Mike and Bill seemed fitting.
“When my son died overseas, we decided the best way to memorialize him was to establish an endowed scholarship,” Lois said. “Then when Bill died, he was so dedicated to teaching that we decided a second endowed scholarship was the way to go.”
But Lois and Sally didn’t stop there. They understand that interest from their endowments will forever create scholarships for Texas A&M students, and that by adding to their endowments, the scholarships will grow in value and number. So as a final tribute to the men they loved, Lois and Sally are providing gifts in their wills to supplement the two memorial scholarship endowments.
A charitable bequest included in a will or a living trust is one of the easiest ways to leave a lasting impact on Texas A&M. This form of giving enables
the donor to retain assets during his or her lifetime and lessens the burden of taxes on family members after the donor’s death. It’s one of the most
straightforward ways to give, requiring only the help of an attorney to specify a gift to the Texas A&M Foundation in a will or living trust.
Since Bill originally suggested the idea of a scholarship in Mike’s memory, Sally and Lois know he would be pleased with their estate planning decision. “My father didn’t believe in flowers,” Sally said of Bill, a professor of mechanized agriculture. “Flowers are beautiful, but they die. My father wanted
Mike to be memorialized by something that could live on.”
After serving both domestically and overseas as an agricultural engineer for the United States Agency for International Development, Bill worked in the Office of International Programs at Texas A&M for seven years before teaching from 1966 until his death in 1982. Lois earned a journalism degree and has found ways to share her writing and editing skills throughout the family’s many moves. Sally is a professor of literacy education at the University of Oklahoma and, like her father, takes her teaching skills all over the world.
Though Bill is now gone, his memorial scholarship funded through the Foundation continues to help students gain college degrees—14 thus far. The Michael Beach Scholarship, funded through The Association of Former Students, likewise has supported the education of more than 20 Texas A&M Naval ROTC students. This would have pleased Mike, his mother said, since he loved his time in the Corps of Cadets.
By bolstering these scholarships after they themselves pass on, Lois and Sally are ensuring that memories of Bill and Mike continue touching lives through the gift of education.
For more information on how you can make a planned gift like Lois and Sally, request our complimentary Estate and Gift Planning Kit.