Gerald David McBeth

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Gerald David McBeth, age 75, passed away peacefully on Friday, Nov. 25, at St. Luke's hospital in Kansas City after a long illness. He was with his wife and friends at the time of his death. Born Oct. 28, 1941, in Macon, Mo., he was the son of James and Olwen McBeth.

Gerald, known to all as Jerry, grew up in Macon and attended both grade school and high school there. He was president of the student council his senior year after having served on the council the previous three years. He was elected vice president of the Missouri Association of Student Councils. He was also student manager of the football team, basketball team and track team. This experience earned him a scholarship to William Jewell College where he served as the student manager for four years of their football team. At 5-feet, 3-inches, he loved telling people he went to college on a football scholarship. At William Jewell he was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity and served on the student senate. Jerry graduated in 1963 with a Bachelor of Arts in history.

After college graduation, Jerry taught history and social studies and coached basketball at Clopton junior high. In 1968, he entered the University of Missouri School of Law and graduated in 1971 as a member of the Order of the Coif, an honor bestowed on those in the upper 10 percent of the class. While there, he was a member of the Missouri Law Review and the Student Bar Association.

Upon graduating from law school in 1971, Jerry told his dean he wanted a small town law practice. His dean knew of a good firm in Nevada. Jerry loved Nevada instantly and often said he even liked the water. He began practice with the Ewing law firm where he became a partner in 1974. He served as prosecuting attorney for the city of Nevada for several years. He was admitted to the Texas Bar while serving as an attorney for Farm and Home in Nevada.

Jerry loved his community and loved serving it. Throughout his career, he was given numerous honors and awards for that service. He was named one of the Missouri Jaycees Five Outstanding Men of Missouri in 1975 and Rotary's Citizen of the Year in 1986. Other honors include Community Service Award by the Young Lawyers section of the Missouri Bar, The Governor's Leadership Award by Governor Kit Bond, and the Distinguished Service Award by the Nevada Jaycees. He was active in the Lions Club and served as President of the Rotary Club. He served on the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross, and the Vernon County Cancer Relief Fund; a member of the Legislative committee of the Missouri Bar Association, the Family Law section of the Missouri Bar and served as a member of the Young Lawyers Council of the Missouri Bar. He was a 32nd degree Mason was a past Worshipful Master of the Nevada area Masonic Lodge.

McBeth became Associate Circuit Judge of Vernon County in 1991 and served 15 years on the bench. After retirement, he became a senior judge and travelled the southwest of Missouri hearing cases. He served 12 years on the Missouri Supreme Court's trial judge education committee and was recently given a resolution of appreciation from the State of Missouri Circuit Court, 31 Judicial Circuit for his work as a senior judge.

Jerry never liked sitting still, unless he was reading a book. He was a voracious reader who loved his Kindle. In his younger years, he loved running with the Southwest Jogging and Debate Society in Nevada. He loved the water; loved scuba diving, swimming, sunning and walking on the sand. Jerry loved to be on the golf course with his friends. Even when he could no longer play, he enjoyed riding around the course with Judge Bickel to watch the others play. But most of all he loved people. Those of us who knew and loved him will always remember the twinkling eyes, the hearty laugh with his head thrown back and his big heart. We will remember the excellent raconteur he was. Even if we did hear the stories more than once, they still made us laugh. Everything he did, he did 110 percent. As Willa Cather wrote in "Death comes for the Archbishop," "The old man smiled. 'I shall not die of a cold, my son. I shall die of having lived.'" That was our Jerry.

Jerry is survived by his wife Susan; his son David; grandchildren, Lauren and Thomas; and his daughter Susen. Donations in his name may be made to Shriners Childrens Hospital, 2900 Rocky Point Dr. Tampa, FL 33607 or to the Vernon County Drug Court.

A memorial service is being planned for this summer. The details will be announced in the Nevada Daily Mail as well as on Facebook and Instagram. All family, friends and others whose lives Jerry touched are invited to attend. Even if you didn't know him, you are welcome too. He never met a stranger.