Robert E. Beaver, 87, of Little River, KS passed away from natural causes on June 28, 2020. He will be dearly missed by his 6 children, 11 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents Levi and Florence, his brothers Levi, Kenneth and Joseph, and his sisters Dicie, Laura and Carol.
Born to Levi and Florence Beaver on April 9, 1933 in Iola, KS Bob encountered a few challenges in his early life. Nonetheless, he matured into a loving, accepting man who continued to learn and grow his entire life. He was an active student at Iola High School, lettering in band and football, as well as participating in orchestra and theater. He graduated in 1951. After being denied entry into the Army for medical reasons he attended Allen Community College where he continued to play football and graduated in 1955. Later he studied at Emporia State University, completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Education in 1963, and a Master’s Degree in Education in 1973.
Bob married Marilee Pettit on August 22, 1954. They divorced in 1977. He was preceded in death by their daughter Susan. He is survived by 5 children, Levi Beaver (Lora), Faith Daniel (John), Mark Beaver, Kurt Beaver and Stacey Herrmann.
On July 17, 1983 he was married to Coralie Porter. He is survived by her and his stepdaughter Amy Kessinger (Kent).
Bob was employed in a wide variety of jobs during his youth. However, once he began teaching he never stopped until his retirement in 1992. He taught elementary school in southeast Kansas before moving to the Little River area in 1957. He taught multiple grades at Rockville until 1962 when he began teaching at Little River High School from 1962 to 1969. While there he taught a variety of subjects and also served as an assistant football coach. In 1965 he received the Young Educator of the Year Award. Mr. Beaver began teaching at Windom in 1969 and spent the majority of his career teaching math and science to hundreds of children. While at Windom he also coached boy’s football, basketball and track. His last few years at Windom, he taught fifth grade and continued to be a substitute teacher after retiring. Reputed to be a strict disciplinarian he also quietly helped countless kids who struggled in class and encouraged young people to be their best. Coach Beaver taught fundamentals to his athletes, some of whom played on state championship teams in high school.
Bob was an active, respected member of the community serving at different times as Chairman of the Library, Chairman of the Rice County Council on Aging, Chairman of the South Central Kansas Area Agency on Aging, member of the KNEA, and Chairman of the Little River Community Fund. A longstanding member of the Little River United Methodist Church, he contributed to countless soup suppers and pancake feeds, served as a trustee, sang in the choir and was a member of the Methodist men. He also volunteered at pancake feeds for the Windom Fire Department.
Throughout his life Bob loved music, playing trumpet in high school band, baritone in high school orchestra and singing in a popular quartet. He introduced his children to many different types of music and enjoyed live performances until late in life.
He also enjoyed traveling, going as far west as Hawaii and as far east as Germany. He particularly enjoyed mountains and took several trips to Colorado. Thankfully he was able to enjoy them one last time before passing.
Coach Beaver’s greatest passion throughout the majority of his life was football. In high school and college he played tackle. Most Saturdays and Sundays you could find him watching college or pro games. He could remember details of countless games from his coaching career including the positions people played, individual plays and final scores. He became an avid fan of Ottawa University football, coached by his son-in-law Kent Kessinger, and attended games whenever he could.
A small, family service is planned for the near future. A public remembrance will be planned for a later date when large gatherings are safe.
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Stull United Methodist Church