Morris W. Beebe Jr., a retired long-time International Business Machines Corp. public affairs manager and former Lexington city commissioner, died Tuesday at Central Baptist Hospital of complications from lung problems. He was 82.
Mr. Beebe, a Lexington native, also held leadership positions in many organizations and received many honors for his contributions to the community.
A 1948 graduate of the University of Kentucky, he joined IBM after it announced plans to build an electric typewriter plant in Lexington in 1956. His job was to help the company establish a community relations program. He retired in 1988 as IBM's regional manager for public affairs.
Mr. Beebe had already made a mark for himself in the community before he joined IBM. He was named "outstanding young man of the year" for 1955 by the Lexington Jaycees. By the time he received that honor, he had been secretary and director of the Central Kentucky Concert and Lecture Series, a director of the YMCA, an assistant district Boy Scout commissioner, active in the local chapter of the American Red Cross and a participant in a St. Joseph Hospital building drive.
The Kentucky Junior Chamber of Commerce named him as one of the state's three outstanding young men for 1960.
In the 1960s, Mr. Beebe served two terms as a Lexington city commissioner and two years as president of the Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival Association. He served as chairman of the Lexington chapter of the American Red Cross, and in 1963 chaired the local Sabin polio vaccine program.
The Lexington Kiwanis Club honored him in 1963 with an Outstanding Community Contribution Award. He was the first non-Kiwanian to receive the award. Mr. Beebe received the Transylvania Medal, the highest award given to a non-alumnus of Transylvania University by the school's alumni association, in 1969.
Kentucky Gov. Louie Nunn appointed Mr. Beebe as chairman of the governor's committee on the handicapped in the late 1960s. Mr. Beebe continued to serve in that capacity under Governors.Wendell Ford and Julian Carroll. Mr. Beebe chaired the local Easter Seal campaign at least twice during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In 1970, he was named president of the Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce. He served two terms on the board of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, in the early 1970s and again from 1985 to 1988.
He was elected president of the UK National Alumni Association in 1982 and named president of the Better Business Bureau of Central Kentucky in 1984.
In 1986 he received the governor's Outstanding Kentuckian Award.
Mr. Beebe is survived by his wife of 57 years, Eloise Longstaff Beebe; four sons, Dr. Morris "Will" Beebe III, Matthew S. Beebe, John L. Beebe and Thomas W. Beebe; a daughter, Ann L. Cabirac; and nine grandchildren.
Services will be 10 a.m. Friday at Cathedral of Christ the King. Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. Thursday at W.R. Milward Mortuary — Southland. Memorial gifts are suggested to Hospice of the Bluegrass.