William M. Beachler

William M. BeachlerA 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.

Print Obituary

12 Messages to “William M. Beachler

Print Messages
Gary Hicks
January 14, 2016 at 2:44 pm

Rest in peace, Bill. I will miss playing cards with you every week and meeting you on Saturday mornings in the fall at Spartan Stadium. You made so many good friends during your life due to your gentle nature and generous spirit. You were such an unassuming person that carried your Iowa values throughout your full life. We enjoyed several great trips following the Spartans.

Walt Sorg
January 14, 2016 at 3:06 pm

Bill’s contribution to our community cannot be overstated. A good and great person. RIP my friend.

Jim Toy
January 14, 2016 at 5:33 pm

Thank you, Bill–holding you in loving memory–my deep sympathy to your family and many friends!

Matt Gatson
January 14, 2016 at 6:19 pm

Dear Bill,

You touched sooooo many lives in your life. My four years @MSU were far greater because of you! Your legacy lives on in our hearts, our minds and more importantly, will carry on through the scholarship program you initiated at MSU. “you goooo boyeeee!”

My personal life has been enriched because of you!

I will miss you.

Steven Smith
January 14, 2016 at 10:31 pm

Bill you were such a great person and a true friend. I will miss our conversations and excursions throughout Lansing. Much love to you, your family and many, many friends.

Jean Golden
January 15, 2016 at 9:08 am

What a terrible shock to hear of Bill Beachler’s sudden passing. We served on the MSU LGBT Alumni Association together for many years, and I worked closely with him on AIDS and LGBT related events when I was with the City. Even before that, we worked together advocating for people with disabilities when he worked for the state dept. of transportation. For many years now, we have shared our thoughts, difficulties, and successes in our lives together, every Monday night. He was the glue that held us all together – in every organization he worked with. He put in the daily effort to accomplish the tasks that needed to be done, even when many of us faltered. He was a tireless advocate, a generous donor who established the first LGBT scholarship at MSU. He was maddeningly exacting at times, but always with the noblest of intentions. He cared. He was good to his soul, which is now free to soar unencumbered by illness or age. I am grateful to have known and worked with him. I will miss him very much.

Debbie (Bergmann)Krambeck
January 15, 2016 at 9:46 am

So sorry for your loss.You are in my thoughts and prayers. He was a wonderful guy. Think of you guys so often .

Bob Morris
January 15, 2016 at 3:52 pm

I worked at MDOT from 1984 to 1993 and during that time I came to know and respect Bill as a colleague and friend. We maintained our professional relationship after I left MDOT, but still continued my interest in public transportation. While not close friends, we often had talks about pollitics, life and, of course, MSU sports. We often saw each other at MSU basketball games in the 1990s. Bill had a wicked and often sarcastic sense of humor that I loved.

I just learned of Bill’s passing and cannot be in Lansing on Saturday, but my thoughts will be with him.

My life is better because I knew Bill.

Jane Ann Boelter Riggs
January 15, 2016 at 4:56 pm

Dear Jim & Judy, I am deeply sorry for the loss of your big brother, Bill. The 4 of us plus all the other Rowley kids shared so many memories from growing up together to loosing our school to going to Independence for high school. Bill was always a special friend for me even though you two were closer in age. I so much enjoyed reading about his life after Rowley! What a contribution he made! I would have supported and encouraged him all the way. Yes. I so wish I could be there tomorrow to share the grief and the memories. Know that I will be thinking of you. Much love and good thoughts, Jane Ann

Mary Molloy
January 15, 2016 at 6:05 pm

I’m sorry for your loss. I was shocked to read of his passing today. I knew Bill as a neighbor at Ville Montee II. I enjoyed many pleasant interactions with him. He also gave me an exercise bike that he no longer used.

I would attend the service but I can’t. I broke my ankle 4 weeks ago and it is still mending. Ville Montee II didn’t put salt on the steps and I fell on the ice.

I am grateful to have known Bill.

Sharon Edgar
January 16, 2016 at 5:10 pm

I worked with Bill at MDOT had considerable respect and affection for him. Thank you to his family for such a beautiful ceremony here in Lansing. it must have been difficult for you to come all the way from Iowa so that all of us here at his adopted hometown could say goodbye. And then to repeat it all in Iowa when you take him home. The funeral so exemplified everything that meant everything to Bill. Family friends MSU the LBGT community. His local community and his beloved Iowa.

Holger & André from Berlin
March 25, 2016 at 6:45 pm

We have lost a good friend, who very enriched our life for 21 years. We are very happy to came to know him and we always admired his political and social commitment. His family can be proud of him. The pain is more bearable as we know, that we had a beautiful time last December and that we could experienced plenty together. That were for all wonderful moments once again. We will keep Bill forever in our hearts and our memory.


Please Sign The Guestbook

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *