|Birth: ||Apr. 14, 1918|
|Death: ||Mar. 23, 2006|
St. Joseph County
MSGT; US ARMY; WORLD WAR II
Co. E, 113th Engineer (Combat) Battalion
Miles G. Beard survived the Great Depression as a teenager in northern Indiana, spent World War II in the U.S. Army, and returned home to spend the rest of his working years laboring in a factory. His pleasures were stamp collecting, fishing, gardening, and having a good beer.
Miles' father was 20 years old when Miles was born. His dad spent the first year of Miles' life working on his own father's farm in Owasco, Indiana. Then he rented land in Fulton County, Indiana, and farmed; then he farmed in LaGrange County. Before Miles was ten years old, his father had moved the family to South Bend where he first worked at Studebaker's. Miles and his younger brothers, Max and Bruce, grew up in South Bend, in a little house on Kinyon Street, near the St. Joseph River. Miles graduated from South Bend Central High School in 1936 and studied at University of Chicago before joining the U.S. Army in 1940.
Miles served in the U.S. military from December 23, 1940, until December 27, 1945, five years and four days. Co. E, 113th Engineer (Combat) Battalion. He served in the United States and in the Philippines. He was honorably discharged as a Master Sergeant. He was awarded a Good Conduct Medal, an American Theater Ribbon with two Bronze Stars, an Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon, a Victory Medal, and a Philippine Liberation Ribbon.
On November 19, 1949, in South Bend, he married Elizabeth Ann Smith née Doyle, a divorcée with two children from her previous marriage.
Ten months after he married Elizabeth Ann, his first child was born, a daughter. Five years later, a son. Two more sons followed. The family lived in the Normain Heights neighborhood of Mishawaka, Indiana. It was a neighborhood built for returning WW II servicemen.
In Normain Heights, his closest neighbors were Betty Casper and Joe Callahan.
Miles worked at UniRoyal (BallBand) for 30 years before retiring. He was a member of United Rubber Workers Local Union #65. He operated a rubber vulcanizer, making rubber mats for cars and trucks. He and co-worker Ed Costa made the specialty mats.
For many years Miles was a member of the Northern Indiana Philatelic Society, a social group for stamp collectors.
Miles had a massive stroke in March 1999. The stroke left him with serious brain damage, greatly diminished mental capacity, and partial paralysis on his right side. After being hospitalized in late 2004, he was moved to Mishawaka's Fountainview Nursing Home where he lived for the last 14-and-a-half months of his life.
At Fountainview, his roommate was Bernard Lenczowski. Two of the men he ate his meals with -- three times a day for seven months -- were Tom Loughlin and John Thornburg. Miles, Tom, John, and one other man always sat together for meals, at a four-person table, next to a window that overlooked an open grassy area where geese wandered. In the last month of Miles' life, a new man joined the table group, Philip Hess. One of the friendly faces at Fountainview was Carol Geist; Carol would visit Miles and cheer him up. For the last 14 months of Miles' life, the people at Fountainview were Miles' "family."
Miles' wife survived him, dying December 8, 2007. Additionally, he was survived by his daughter, by his three sons, by seven grandchildren, and by two great-grandsons. (The oldest of his seven grandchildren was a grandson born in 1975. It is not known whether Miles ever knew about his first-born grandchild or his two great-grandsons.)
From late October 2006 until soon after July 30, 2007, Miles' burial site was marked with a military marker. It was a footmarker provided by the Veterans Administration, a bronze plaque on a granite base. The marker read
MILES GRIFFITH BEARD
M SGT US ARMY
WORLD WAR II
APR 14 1918 . MAR 23 2006
The military marker was removed.
His philosophy of life was that "God says the choice is yours, and yours alone. But if you make the wrong choice, suffer, buddy, suffer." Miles suffered for his wrong choices.
Among the happy things to remember of his life are these:
(1) Before Miles was two years old, instead of a pony, he rode a pig named Pollyanna. The pig was his dad's prize brood sow.
(2) When Miles was a kid, he ate geranium leaf sandwiches made by his neighbor Mrs. Marsac.
(3) In the "Class Will" for the Central High School 1936 yearbook is this: "We, MARY LOU MARTIN and MILES BEARD, bequeath our prizing-winning abilities in University of Chicago exams to various oncoming brilliant intellects." Miles won a one-year scholarship to the University of Chicago.
(4) Like all training sergeants, Miles took his turn leading morning exercises. Miles was not a "morning person." On his mornings, he would hold up his hand, stick out a finger, bend his finger up and down, and call out, "One-two-three-four." And that was his morning exercise for the troops.
(5) When Miles had young children, he paid ten cents a bag for every bag of chickweed that a child pulled from his garden.
(6) He was an excellent math tutor. Because of his genes and his tutoring, all four of Miles' children excelled at math.
BURIAL SITE (aerial view)
George Irvin Beard (1897 - 1965)
Bernice Griffith Beard (1891 - 1955)
Elizabeth Ann Doyle Beard (1921 - 2007)
Twin Beard (1950 - 1950)*
Note: father of page creator
Saint Joseph Valley Memorial Park
St. Joseph County
Plot: 4A; lot 15; plot 5
GPS (lat/lon): 41.72303, -86.18715
Created by: AMB
Record added: May 30, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14452356