A native of Rowley, Iowa, Bill ventured to East Lansing to attend Michigan State University, where he majored in the hotel and restaurant management program. He served in the United States Army and was stationed in West Germany. Bill returned to MSU and earned a Master’s degree in management.
Bill enjoyed a long career with the Michigan Department of Transportation, where he worked primarily in urban transit. To honor his long service to the state, the Department of Transportation designated a rest area in Saugatuck as the William M. Beachler rest area.
Bill lived for many years in East Lansing, where he served on the city’s planning commission. Several years ago, he moved to River Park Estates Condominiums in Lansing, where he served as secretary for the condominium association’s board.
Bill was always interested in politics and equality for the LGBT community. He helped to form the Lansing Association For Human Rights in the late 1970’s and continued to serve that organization for the past 37 years as a board member, secretary, and publisher of the LGBT News, the group’s monthly newsletter. He greatly enjoyed serving as publisher because it kept him in touch with almost every organization in our community.
About ten years ago, Bill generously provided an endowment to Michigan State University to create an annual scholarship known as the Pride scholarship that provides financial assistance to students who demonstrate a commitment to LGBT leadership. Bill served as secretary on the board of the MSU GLBT Alumni Association, and organized the annual fall reception that group held at the Kellogg Center. During his life, Bill also supported various state and national LGBT organizations, such as the Human Rights Campaign, the Michigan Organization For Human Rights, the Triangle Foundation, and Equality Michigan.
An avid follower of MSU sports, Bill held season tickets for MSU basketball and football for about 45 years.
Bill kept very busy with volunteer work after his retirement, often joking he was busier than when he was working. In addition to his volunteer work, Bill enjoyed playing euchre several times a week and volleyball on Sundays. He also loved playing his flute with the Equality Band of Michigan. He enjoyed gardening, his cats, decorating his apartment for various holidays, and Yankee candles.
Surviving are: sister, Judy (Alan) Kress; brother, Jim (Jean) Beachler; and 4 nieces and a nephew. Bill loved his university, his family, and his friends. He was always there, but is no more, except in our memories.
The funeral service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, January 16, 2016, at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel. His family will receive friends at the funeral home two hours prior to the funeral. Additional services and burial will take place in Iowa. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to MSU, or to the Capital Area Humane Society in memory of William Beachler.