Dr. Don Michael Beach of Stephenville, a former Tarleton State University Dean and longtime faculty member, died April 19, 2023 at the age of 76. He was the only child of Jesse Price and Ona Blanche (Reeves) Beach, born on Nov 4, 1946 in Graham, TX. Don graduated from Midland Lee High School in 1965 and started his journey with education at Texas Tech University. While there, he met his forever Valentine, Linda Sue Nutter. They were married on February 14, 1969 in Midland, TX and just celebrated their 54th anniversary.
Don received a Bachelor of Science degree in May 1969, and a Master of Education degree in May 1971 both from Texas Tech University. While earning his Masters, he began teaching science and biology in the Smyer and Post school districts. Don and Linda moved to Nashville, TN where he attended the Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University, eventually earning a Doctor of Philosophy degree in May of 1973.
After graduation, Dr. Beach became a member of the faculty at UT Arlington where he taught for eight years. He joined Tarleton State University in the fall of 1981 as Dean of the School of Education and Fine Arts. He later returned to the classroom as an educational leadership Professor. This year marked his 42nd year at the university.
The Texas A&M University System named Dr. Beach a Regents Professor in 2008 and was the Texas Council of Professors and Educational Administrators’ 2016 Educator of the Year. He received Tarleton’s O.A. Grant Excellence in Teaching Award, the Ted Booker Award from the Consortium of State Organizations for Texas Teacher Education, and the Laureate Award from the Association of Teacher Educators. He served as President of Tarleton’s Faculty Senate in 2015-16, returning as a member in 2021. He was also inducted into Tarleton’s Crystal Apple Society in 2015 for his positive impact on the lives of students.
Over his 50 years teaching in the field of education, Dr. Beach was a perennial lecturer at professional conferences and authored several textbooks on supervision and educational leadership. He was an advisor and mentor to thousands of teachers and educational administrators throughout the state of Texas. As part of his legacy, Dr. Beach recently established the Beach Family Doctoral Fellowship Endowment, created with the purpose of supporting future doctoral students at Tarleton.
Outside of teaching at the collegiate level, Don spent many years working with the Boy Scout USA program. His love of scouting began early on, eventually earning his Eagle Scout award while in high school. He later became a mentor and Scout Master to many young men in the Stephenville and Erath County communities.
Don was an avid supporter of the arts and a lover of music. He sang for many years with the Cross Timbers Civic Chorale and went on several tours with the University Chorus. He was a strong man of faith and long-time member of First United Methodist Church in Stephenville, where he sang in the sanctuary choir, taught Sunday School classes, served on local church committees as well as serving at the district and conference level for the United Methodist Church. Don was also an avid sports fan, and could be seen over the years not only at a variety of Tarleton and Stephenville ISD sporting events, but also at his children and later grandchildren’s rec league games.
Don is survived by his wife, Linda, and their four children: Katherine (and husband Matthew) McKinley; Michael (and wife Stephanie) Beach; Mary (and husband Patrick) McGuire; and Sarah (and husband Mauro) Matai. He also leaves 11 grandchildren: Michael, Robert, and Lindsay McKinley; Grant and Reagan Beach; Courtney, William, and Connor McGuire; and Kai. Lindon, and Madison Matai.
Services are set for 2 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at the Stephenville High School Bond Auditorium. Visitation is 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Stephenville Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Beach Family Doctoral Fellowship Endowment at Tarleton State University (donate.tarleton.edu). Please click on the Beach Family Doctoral Fellowship Endowment link.
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