Thomas Allen McBeath, 79, Grand Ledge, died of cancer Jan. 1, 2023, in Grand Ledge.
A funeral Mass with military honors was held Jan. 5 at St. Michael’s Parish, Grand Ledge. Mills Funeral Home, Grand Ledge, handled arrangements. Burial was in Fort Custer National Cemetery.
Born July 1, 1943, in Houghton, he was the third of four sons of Donald and Hazel McBeath. Conspiring with his brothers Sandy, Jim and John, he was an avid outdoorsman, discovering, climbing, building and shaping his future endeavors.
In 1949, the McBeath family moved to Roscommon, where he graduated from Gerrish-Higgins High School in 1961.
Following a one-year stint on a fishing boat off the shores of Alaska, he attended Michigan State University.
In 1964, he enlisted in the United States Army, faithfully serving his country as a Chinook helicopter pilot through the Vietnam War in 1966 and 1967, transporting soldiers. In 1969, he began his career and service in the Grand Ledge Armory of the Michigan Army
National Guard as a civil service technician, later earning the title of chief maintenance officer.
After more than 30 years serving his country, he retired in 1999 with the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CW5). His service and loyalty continued as a member of the Quiet Birdmen, a secretive club in the United States for male aviators, and a member of the Capitol Area Chapter of MOAA (Military Officers Association of America).
He also worked with the J. Sauter Veterans Treatment Court in Eaton County since its inception in 2013, serving as a veteran mentor coordinator from 2015 to 2022.
He loved his family, camping at Point Abbaye and traveling. He could be found cutting trees in the woods, collecting sap at the Morris Sugarbush or enjoying a good glass of wine. His active childhood fostered his interests of sailing, woodworking and reading about Michigan history.
He had a servant’s heart, affecting the lives of numerous family and friends throughout his 79 years of life. He was a blessing to countless people, including his family.
Preceding him in death were his parents, Donald and Hazel McBeath; and brother, Donald Sandy McBeath.
Surviving are his wife, Barbara McBeath; children, Ryan McBeath, Kristen (Wade) Rayner, Jill McBeath, Ryan (Lois) Atkins and Tamara (Walter) Longcore; and five grandchildren, Drew, Ethan and Owen Atkins and Anna and Josie Longcore.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Capitol Area Chapter, MOAA scholarship fund, www.cacmoaa.org/Scholarships.aspx, or J. Sauter Eaton County Veterans Treatment Court, 1045 Independence Blvd., Room 150, Charlotte, MI 48813.
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