Retired Army Maj. Gen. Charles Beach Jr. of Beattyville, who was awarded the Purple Heart during World War II and later served on various state and local agency boards and commissions, died Wednesday — Veterans Day — at Lexington's St. Joseph Hospital. He was 90.
"He was nationally recognized as a military leader and a community leader," said Maj. Gen. William E. Barron of Elizabethtown, who knew Beach for about 35 years and served with him in the Reserves.
"General Beach was a quality gentleman who never embarrassed himself or others. It will take hundreds of people to replace all he has done for the military and this state."
Former Gov. Paul Patton said Beach "served his country and state well. He was always a gentleman, a fine, fine person."
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Beach was born on the Fourth of July in 1919 in Beattyville.
A 1940 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va., Beach was wounded in action in May 1944 in Italy and spent eight months in a military hospital in Memphis. He was awarded the Purple Heart.
After his release from active duty, he was assigned to the Army Reserves. He was recommissioned in the Army in 1957 as a major. In 1961, his unit was called to active duty in Arkansas due to the Berlin crisis.
In 1976, Beach became the 18th commander of the 100th Division, the All Kentucky Army Reserve Training Division, and was promoted to major general.
In civilian life, his public duty included chairmanship of Peoples Exchange Bank and the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.
For 58 years, he was president of the Beattyville/Lee County Chamber of Commerce.
Beattyville Mayor Joseph Kash called Beach "a true gentleman and a hero of this community. It's appropriate that his passing was on Veterans Day. He was a true patriot."
Newnam Funeral Home in Beattyville is handling arrangements.
Visitation will be 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Beattyville. A private funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the church. A public service with full military rites will follow at Riverview Cemetery, Beattyville.
Following interment, a reception celebrating Beach's life will be at the Beattyville home of his son, Charles Beach III, and daughter-in-law, Helen Beach.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to St. Thomas Church.