Cover photo for James Louis Beard's Obituary
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1934 James 2019

James Louis Beard

August 15, 1934 — June 29, 2019

James Louis Beard, age 84, passed away peacefully in his home due to Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis on June 29, 2019 with his wife Charleen, and son, David by his side. Jim was born on August 15, 1934 to Grover and Doris Beard in Aurora, IL. He began his 42 1/2 year-long military career at the tender age of 15, serving in the Army National Guard, US Marine Corps Reserves and the Special Forces Reserves.

Jim began basic training for the Army National Guard and was sent to Japan for specialized combat education before serving in the Korean War at the age of 16, where he received the Army of Occupation Medal, Korean Service Medal, and the United Nations Service Medal. He was awarded additional US Military Medals including two Meritorious Service Medals. Upon his discharge from the National Guard, Jim moved to Alaska to work with his father. After his time in Alaska ended, Jim re-enlisted with the National Guard and moved to San Pedro, California where he met the love of his life, Charleen whom he married on October 22, 1954. Jim and Charleen gave birth to their first son, Jimmy, in December of 1955.  In 1958, their family became complete after the birth of their son, David. Soon after, Jim enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves for 3 years and then joined the Army National Guard.  Jim worked full-time in the insulation industry while maintaining his status in the Reserves. While providing for his family, a new Special Forces Reserve Program became available and he jumped at the chance to be become “America’s Best”. As a result, countless promotions followed and he quickly rose through the ranks of company commander, battalion commander, and retired as a full Colonel.  Jim graduated from the Military School of Engineering, Industrial War College and countless other schools within the military where he received highly specialized survival training in areas of: arctic, pathfinder, desert, ski/mountain, jungle, paratrooper, and cross-trained in scuba with the Navy Seals. While serving in the Special Forces Reserves, Jim and Charleen moved to Monterey, California where they ran and operated multiple military stores that were highly successful.

Later in life, Jim and Charleen moved to Montrose, Colorado where they enjoyed spending time with their son David and his family, as well as numerous friends. Jim is survived by his loving wife, Charleen; son, David (Janene); grandchildren, Ashley (Christopher), Jessica (Benjamin), and Andrew (Jessica); great-Grandchildren, Layla, Evan, Wyatt, Oliver, and Zachary. He is preceded in death by his parents, sisters, and son, Jimmy.

Favorite hobbies included: shooting, skiing, swimming, gardening, cooking, RV’ing, hosting numerous foreign exchange students from the Naval Post Graduate School, international travel, and spending time with his beloved Whippet dogs.

Visitation will take place on Friday, July 5th from 4:30 to 7:00 pm at Crippin Funeral Home, 802 East Main, Montrose, CO 81401. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, June 6th at 1:00 pm at Trinity Reform Presbyterian Church, 2705 Sunnyside, Montrose, CO 81401. Burial with full military honors at Grand View Cemetery in Montrose, Co to follow.

In lieu of flowers, Jim requested charitable donations be made to the SPCA, Montrose Humane Society, or the Special Forces Association.

“You have never lived until you have almost died, for life has a special flavor the protected will never know.” – Special Forces Motto


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