Longtime Supervisor Jerry Beekman passes

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Korea, Vietnam veteran was on County Board for four decades

Times Herald Staff

Oconto County Supervisor Gerald Beekman discusses a then-proposed law enforcement center during a 2013 meeting of the county’s law enforcement/judiciary committee. Beekman died Sunday at 87. (Times Herald file photo)

Longtime Oconto County Board Supervisor Jerry Beekman died Sunday, a little more than a month after he stepped down from the board after nearly 40 years.

Beekman, 87, was a retired U.S. Army colonel who had served in the Korean War as an infantry rifle squad leader and in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot with the 1st Cavalry Division, later as a battalion commander with the 101st Airborne Division.

After retirement from the Army, Beekman established the Oconto Aviation Service flying school training pilots for their licenses. In addition to his County Board service, he spent nearly four decades on the Oconto City Council and was chairman of the Police and Fire Commission and the Oconto Airport Commission.

He was recognized for his service to the board at its Dec. 14 meeting, when family members accepted a plaque on his behalf and several supervisors reminisced about him.

Supervisor Rose Stellmacher said she and Beekman didn’t always agree on issues, but he always worked out their differences.

“One thing about Jerry was he was brutally honest, but there’s nothing I appreciate more than honesty,” Stellmacher said. “I really, really enjoyed working with him, and he’s going to be sorely missed.”

Visitation has been scheduled for 4-8 p.m. Thursday at Gallagher Funeral Home, 217 Congress St., Oconto, and 9-11 a.m. Friday at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 716 Madison St., Oconto. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday at the church with the Rev. Bob Karuhn officiating. Burial will be at the Oconto Catholic Cemetery with military rites by all Oconto veterans’ organizations.