Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Shelby Hughes Beasley - RIP

Everyone has a relative who has helped shape their life.  I have had about five such uncles.  One died many years ago.  Another one died last Friday.

Shelby H. Beasley Obituary

Date of Birth:

Wednesday, November 5th, 1930

Date of Death:

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Shelby Beasley

Shelby H. Beasley, 84, peacefully passed away the afternoon of Friday, July 25, 2014 surrounded by his loving family.

Shelby was the pillar of his family, a devoted father and grandfather. He had an unselfish and forgiving heart and most enjoyed storytelling with his friends and family gathered around. He will be remembered for his love for God, his sound advice, his country heritage, and his passion for the outdoors.

Shelby was born November 5, 1930. He is preceded in death by his parents, George Shelby and Cora Alice Beasley and his grandson, Jeremy Tyler Bump. He is survived by his beautiful wife of 64 years, Margie Jean McMillin Beasley; his daughters Charlotte Ann Bump and husband Milo of Tampa, FL; Shelley Jean Edmonds and husband David of Birmingham, AL; Margie Marie Butler and husband Glenn of Alexandria, LA; and his son Brent Beasley and wife Cindy of Coppell, TX. He is also survived by his eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Shelby was a lifelong resident of Harrisonburg, LA, a graduate of Harrisonburg High School and Louisiana State University, College of Agriculture. He began his lifelong career as a farmer and also worked at the Catahoula Parish Sheriff’s department. He was a passionate member of his church, Pleasant Grove Baptist, where he graciously served as Director of Music, Deacon and Sunday School teacher.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, July 27th from 5-8:00 p.m. at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church located at 385 Hwy 126, Jonesville, LA 71343. Funeral services will be held on Monday, July 28th at 10:00 a.m. at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church with Rev. Craig James and Rev. Mickey Hudnall officiating. The family will receive visitors at 9:00 a.m. Burial to follow at Harrisonburg Cemetery. Reception to follow after burial at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. 

That's what the obituary says, but there was so much more to the man. The kind of 'stuff' that makes you proud to be a nephew or a friend or even an acquaintance.  He just came across as a person everyone instantly liked the moment they met.

Judy and I drove over to Louisiana for the funeral.

It was only about a 500 mile round trip but it involved a lot of stressful stuff, including driving mostly 2-lane roads, seeing people I haven't seen in decades, listening to Baptist preachers go on and on about how wonderful a man Shelby was, followed by the parade of cars, walking up steep hills in the Harrisonburg Cemetery and standing in the dreadful heat listening to the preacher say some final words. And that was followed by the traditional eating the huge amount of wonderful food that everyone brought to the church.  And then saying goodbye's to people we may never see again. 

But it was worth it. 

When it was over we volunteered to drive Uncle Charlie (another of the five) back home to Tioga so a cousin could return directly to Baton Rouge rather than have to go to Tioga first.

We also stopped by my parent's and my sister's graves to place flowers. Taking Uncle Charlie home added another 30 or so miles and at least a couple of hours to the trip, that included visiting an ancient cemetery in the hills between Manifest and Jena where my g-grandparents were buried.  They came to America from Ireland with nothing but each other and hope for a better life than what they had in Ireland.  We didn't get out of the car but I'll one day return to spend some time visiting their graves.

As for my Aunt Margie, she was noticeably happy that we came.  I was a favorite nephew and knew it all my life.

Naturally, I saw a lot of people who knew me from childhood who just wanted to say hi. . 

All in all, I'm glad we went.

Funerals in Catahoula Parish haven't changed a bit in my lifetime.  If you belong to a church you get the full package, but you get even more if you were someone who was obviously liked and loved as much as Uncle Shelby. 

Cars and trucks didn't just slow as the funeral procession passed, they pulled over and stopped and waited until all of our cars passed.  Even a tractor in a field came to a full stop, the driver obviously someone who knew Shelby and respected him.

I worked for him one summer driving a combine to harvest the hundreds of acres of soybeans on his farm.  I had never driven a huge combine in my life but he showed me how and turned me loose on his field.  It's not easy.  But one day he said I was his best combine driver.  Hot, dirty and really tired, I was extremely proud to hear that from him.  I think it was a few days later when I realized that I was his 'only' combine driver.  Even so, when I see a combine working a field, I take great pride in my knowing how to operate one.

Life now goes on without one really nice person, Shelby Hughes Beasley.

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