ANNANDALE, Va. - Leroy (Lee) "Perch" Beal, 73, formerly of Sikeston, Mo., and a retired foreign service officer, died Feb. 2, 2002, from pneumonia at Suburban Hospital in Maryland.
Born May 26, 1928, in Sikeston, son of the late Mary Henrietta Bryant and James Frederick Beal, he was an avid football player in high school and won a football scholarship to attend Iowa State University, becoming the first person in his family to attend college.
Shortly after college in the late 1940s he served in the U.S. Marine Corps as an anti-aircraft crewman on the aircraft carrier USS Boxer. During this assignment, he narrowly escaped death when a large steel, aircraft-arresting cable snapped, flew across the deck and trapped him inside the "cage" of his gun station.
Shortly after Mr. Beal left the Marines, he saw the Tyrone Power film, "Diplomatic Courier," which inspired him to leave his small Midwestern town and joined the Diplomatic Courier Service to serve his country and to see the world. During his 35-year government career, he traveled extensively as a diplomatic courier and foreign service officer. His first assignment was Manila, Philippines, where he met his wife of 40 years, Charito Menendez. His other posts included: Frankfurt, Germany; Kampala, Uganda; Ankara, Turkey; Amman, Jordan; Jakarta, Indonesia; Jerusalem; Taipei, Taiwan; Stuttgart, Germany; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; and Brussels, Belgium. He retired in 1991, but two years later complained of being bored and found a new job in Washington, D.C., with the Agency for International Development and the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, writing grants and specializing in sub-Saharan Africa and the Sudan.
Family and friends will always remember Lee as a kind, warm, caring and most generous person.
Survivors include: his wife, Charito Beal of Annandale, Va.; one daughter and son-in-law, Dr. Stephen and Michelle Pappas of Potomac, Md.; one son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Iliana Beal of Alexandria, Va.; one granddaughter, Analiese Pappas of Potomac; nephews, Larry Beal and David Beal of Cape Girardeau and Ken Beal of Sikeston; and sisters-in-law, June Beal of Sikeston and Cecil Beal of Cape Girardeau; several cousins in Texas, Florida, Mississippi and Missouri; and many close friends in Sikeston.
The body was cremated. A burial is scheduled for April 11 at Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
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Memorial contributions may be sent to: Suburban Hospital
8600 Old Georgetown Road
Bethesda, Md., 20817