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MSGT Miles Griffith Beard

MSGT Miles Griffith Beard

Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, USA
Death 23 Mar 2006 (aged 87)
Mishawaka, St. Joseph County, Indiana, USA
Burial Granger, St. Joseph County, Indiana, USA
Plot 4A; lot 15; plot 5
Memorial ID 14452356 · View Source
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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 Miles' grandfather's farm in Owasco, Indiana. Then Miles' dad rented land in Fulton County 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. Almost from the start, Miles took on the financial support of the two step-children.

Ten months after he married Elizabeth Ann, Miles' 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, among his closest neighbors for many years were Betty Casper, Joe and Pat Callahan, Lois Takach, and Clarence and Marguerite Cox.

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 and received no medical attention for more than three hours. The stroke left him with serious brain damage, greatly diminished mental capacity, and partial paralysis on his right side. Left with diminished executory function, the octogenarian World War II veteran was manipulated by some after the massive stroke, manipulated in ways that were to his disadvantage. 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 only daughter (Alice), by his three sons, and by at least six and perhaps seven grandchildren. (According to a story Miles' wife told his daughter in August 2001, Miles' first-born grandchild was a grandson born in 1975. It is not known whether Miles ever was told the story, and -- assuming the story was true -- it is not known whether the grandson lived beyond January 1978.)

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

               M SGT US ARMY
               WORLD WAR II
       APR 14 1918 . MAR 23 2006

The military marker was ordered removed by the person who had used Miles' money to arrange for advance payment of Miles' grave site. After Miles' massive stroke in 1999 that left him brain damaged, the person gained power of attorney and control over Miles' meager financial assets. In the end, the person ordered his death by forced dehydration, and, months after his death, the person ordered the removal of Miles' military marker from his grave site.

Miles' 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.

Five years after Miles died, in April 2011, his daughter chanced to be in contact with a nurse from Fountainview, the nursing home where Miles lived his last 15 months. The nurse’s words: “I remember your dad with the fondest memories. He loved his beer. … Just know your dad touched many hearts. We still talk of him from time to time. He was a good man and charming as heck.”

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. Emma Marsac.
(3) In the "Class Will" for the Central High School 1936 yearbook is this: "We, MARY LOU MARTIN and MILES BEARD, bequeath our prize-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.

Autosomal DNA testing on Miles's only known daughter and on a son of Miles' paternal 1st cousin matched (with a match greater than 215 centimorgans). Then, Y-DNA testing on that 1st cousin's son determined Miles' Y-DNA sequence to 67 markers. Information is on the findagrave page for Miles' two-greats-grandfather John Beard. (NOTE: Miles' daughter also DNA-matched with the daughter of another of Miles' paternal 1st cousins, also with a match greater than 215 centimorgans.)

Miles Beard's Y-DNA sequence (tested at familyTreeDNA):
DYS393 is 12.
DYS390 is 23.
DYS19 is 14.
DYS391 is 10.
DYS385 is 15-17.
DYS426 is 11.
DYS388 is 12.
DYS439 is 11.
DYS389i is 13.
DYS392 is 15.
DYS389ii is 28.
Haplogroup L, further classified as L-M20.

BURIAL SITE (aerial view)

NOTE: Page created by Miles' only daughter.

Family Members

Gravesite Details Excellent condition. Well-maintained grave site, near the north-side cemetery office, in exceptionally well-maintained cemetery.
  • Created by: AMB
  • Added: 30 May 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 14452356
  • AMB
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for MSGT Miles Griffith Beard (14 Apr 1918–23 Mar 2006), Find A Grave Memorial no. 14452356, citing Saint Joseph Valley Memorial Park, Granger, St. Joseph County, Indiana, USA ; Maintained by AMB (contributor 46844067) .