Members of the community are pausing this week to remember the life of Marshalltown Mayor Gene Beach and the positive impact he had on the area.
Beach died at the age of 71 on Saturday from complications of lung disease. Beach was a native of Nebraska and married his wife Kay on Feb. 2, 1963. He served for more than 6 years as mayor of Marshalltown and was previously a lawyer, a teacher and had served in the Air Force. He took office as mayor in January 2006 and was re-elected in 2009.
"He has just been a tremendous asset to the community," Rep. Mark Smith, D-Marshalltown, said.
T-R FILE PHOTO
Marshalltown Mayor Gene Beach is pictured during a City Council meeting last year. Beach died at the age of 71 Saturday at the University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City.
Among his many community activities, Beach had been active for 42 years in the Marshalltown Community Theatre and is the former board president. Current MCT board president, Arlene McAtee, said Beach could be relied upon to take on whatever the theatre, or community, needed.
"Gene was such a loyal person," McAtee said. "Once he knew someone, or got involved in a cause, that would be forever for him. It's just such a huge loss for the whole community."
Carol Hibbs, CEO of the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA, said the one word to describe Gene would be passionate. Both McAtee and Hibbs said they sometimes would disagree with Beach - because he was known to stand his ground - but he had the future of the city and its prosperity always at the forefront.
"He always had the best interests of the community," Hibbs said. "It was a privilege to work with him."
Marshalltown Community School District Superintendent Marvin Wade said the mayor will be missed in many ways in town. Wade said Beach was very community-minded and also valued the diversity of Marshalltown and thought it provided enrichment for those in the area.
"He'll really be missed by so many different aspects of the community," Wade said. "It's a real loss."
As a way to remember Beach, the family will greet friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Martha Ellen Tye Playhouse. A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church.