To all of you who check the obits every day to make sure you’re not there, greetings! Hi. My name is Jim Bean and I died Thursday, September 9, 2021 due to complications from exposure to Agent Orange (service in Vietnam). At the time of my death, I was 77 having been born April 12, 1944 in Chicago where my parents, Harold and Evelyn Bean lived. An older brother, Hal Bean (Indianapolis…2018) and younger sister, Mary Evelyn Lough (Lakeland, FL…2009) predeceased me.
I was named for my grandfather who was ordained in the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1898 and great-grandfather who was a chaplain for Union forces in the Civil War.
I was graduated from Henry Coburn Public School 66 (now a condominium) and Shortridge High School (“A disciplined mind and a cultivated heart are elements of power.”- Caleb Mills) in Indianapolis where my parents moved in 1945. I also received a B.S. Degree (that's Bachelor of Science LOL) from Indiana University in Bloomington, a Master of Divinity (MDIV) degree from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS) in Berkeley, CA and a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Mishawaka, IN. I was ordained in The American Lutheran Church (ALC) which became part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in 1980. I served parishes in Milwaukee and Madison.
I served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1970 and rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant serving in El Paso, TX, the Republic of South Vietnam (Saigon) where I was the NCOIC of the Public Information Division of the Office of Information at MACV headquarters at Tan Son Nhut air base and later taught journalism at the Defense Information School at Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN.
I was a 14-time cancer survivor and suffered from heart disease, various cancers and diabetes, caused by exposure to Agent Orange.
I was blessed to marry my best friend, Carol Quackenbush, April 4, 1970. Our daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Nicole Lynn Denman (Dan) came to live with us in 1982. We have always believed she is the best thing to happen to us in our lives.
I have four nieces and nephews, Ann Elizabeth Bailey (Kyle) of Ashville, NC, Andrew Bean (Emily) of Indianapolis, Christopher Lough (Brandi) of (Georgia) and Matthew Lough (Angela) of Lakeland, FL. I also have special cousins Carol Neufer (Indianapolis) and her children Nancy, Jeff and David…Also Bethany (Beane) Ramey Trembley (Richard) of Buda, TX.
I was cremated because I can't stand the idea of noxious chemicals in my body even though I have died...all to make me look not dead in a casket where all communications will be one sided and if you know me, that is NOT acceptable.
A Service of Remembrance will be held at Peace Lutheran Church, Waunakee. The date of the service is being planned and an announcement will be made. I want it to be during nice weather and no pandemic complications so everyone will be comfortable and enjoy themselves.
I would like to thank the Department of Veterans Affairs for providing care for me. I have never experienced any callousness or lack of concern and although their care for me was very good, I'd still rather have had my health. As a country, we never should have been in South Vietnam in the first place. I'm a Democrat. I'm also sorry not to have lived long enough to see Donald Trump in prison orange with a shaved head. I’m sorry also to not have learned the secret of Oak Island (“Could it be” …???).
As I think back on my life now at its end, I’m amazed at how lucky I’ve been. I was lucky to be born to the parents I had. My father was a gentle man in every sense of the word and became the model for the man I hope I became. He stood to deal cards. My mother was intense about our family in the only way she understood but saw to it that Hal, Mary Evelyn and I were enfolded by love.
I was lucky to grow up in Indianapolis. At that time, it was a cultural backwater that we called “India-no-place” and “Neon Cornfield”. The two things it had going for it were the Indianapolis Indians where I was privileged to see Rocky Colavito, Herb Score and Harmon Killebrew play and the Indianapolis 500.
I was lucky to go to Shortridge High School. The above quote,” A disciplined mind and a cultivated heart are elements of power” were written above the proscenium arch in the auditorium and that quote describes the school entirely. The auditorium was named after Caleb Mills (his quote) who was the first superintendent of public schools in Indiana. My high school choir director was Don Neuen who later became assistant director of the Atlanta Symphony under Robert Shaw, the chair of choral music at UCLA and the choir master at the Chrystal Cathedral. The music program at the Shortridge was first rate and provided many opportunities to grow.
I was lucky to attend and finally be graduated from Indiana University and be a member of Zeta Chapter of Phi Gamma Delta social fraternity (“Not for college days alone.”).
Even in joining the Army I was lucky. My MOS as a military journalist kept me safe even in Vietnam. My Vietnam service caused serious deterioration to my health in later years, but the government has stood behind me and all other Vietnam vets in our health issues due to Agent Orange.
Aside from meeting and marrying Carol my luckiest thing was being able to sing. I can no longer sing and it is painful. I’ve been singing in front of people since the age of 5. My grammar school scheduled “Chorus” every Wednesday. We gathered at varying times and ages. There was a cowboy song in the American Book of Song 1 that was used in kindergarten and I loved that song and wanted to sing it. I sang all my life until my lungs started giving out and I regret I didn’t sing more.
But still, the number one luckiest thing that happened in my life was falling in love with Carol Quackenbush who is still the love of my life after 51 years. Her faith in me and the love she gives have never waivered even when I was not such a great husband. She has truly been a gift from God.
After graduating from IU, I was lucky after going to work as a Public Information Officer for the Department of the Army at Ft McPherson, GA and then to be assigned to the Sixth Army Public affairs office at the Presidio of San Francisco where I ultimately found Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley and began my theological studies. The staff at PLTS was first rate and my mind and soul and faith were supported and uplifted.
For my DMin project, I wrote three musical services; “A Day of Worship” (Morning Service, Eucharist, and Evening Prayer) using what I learned in high school and the first two years of college.
I was a pastor for 20 years. It was the greatest honor and privilege to be with families in their deepest joy and sorrow.
Perhaps I was not so lucky in my parishes being told in one that I was exactly what they were looking for when I was, in reality, the last thing they were looking for. And in the second finding an undercurrent of “originalist thinkers” who wanted the church to be just like it was in 1955.
After I left the clergy roster in 2001, I was lucky to become the choir master at Lake Geneva United Methodist Church, a position I enjoyed for 10 years.
I’ve loved my life and I hope you can say the same for yours. I’ve enjoyed my family and friends. I still have some from High School and one, David Yager of Mooresville, NC (Kathy), I've known since we were five years old. Another is Bob (Skip) Craft (Maureen) of Indianapolis. Skip and I played football for different grade schools against each other.
I hope you will remember me fondly which is all one can really ask and that you'll forgive me my failings which, from my perspective, were many.
With thanks to Andrew M. Greeley in The Bishop and the Beggar Girl of St Germaine, “My friends we are so blind and deaf. The world is transparent. God is everywhere whispering to us, talking to us, shouting at us. Usually, we do not hear. Sometimes we do. And then we know that everything is grace.”
I love you all. See you in heaven.
Love cannot stop death but death cannot stop love. Therefore, love wins.
Friends and family will gather from 10:00am-12:00pm (noon) on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 at Peace Lutheran Church, 710 South Century Ave, Waunakee, WI 53597 with a memorial service follow. Full military honors at the church immediately follow the memorial service.