PEACH ORCHARD -- Otto Bean Jr., 68, died at 10 p.m. July 15, 2006, at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., following a battle with leukemia.
Born Jan. 1, 1938, in Gideon, son of the late Otto and Alice Marie Lee Bean, he had represented the 163rd district for two terms. He was raised on the family farm near Gideon, where he attended elementary and high school before attending the Western Military Academy. He also attended the University of Missouri, majoring in Ag Business with an emphasis on Farm Management. He served on active duty in the Army National Guard during 1962-1963 and attended Officer Candidate School in 1964. He was Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and served until 1970, when he was transferred to the Army Reserve.
During the same time, he launched his own farming operation.
On Feb. 14, 1960, in Columbia, he married his college sweetheart, Janet Stillman.
Over the next four decades, Bean built a reputation as an innovative farmer, a successful agri-businessman and a leader in the community. He filled leadership roles in a number of statewide and national organizations, including Missouri Farm Bureau, University of Missouri, Cotton Board, Cotton Incorporated, National Cotton Council, Cotton Producers of Missouri and the Agricultural Council of Arkansas. In 2002, he was named to the USDA Agricultural Trade Advisory Committee as an advisor on international agriculture, commodity and trade policies.
Bean made history in 2002 when he was elected the first Republican to represent the 163rd district in the Missouri House of Representatives in recorded history. He quickly developed a reputation as a coalition builder and worked closely with colleagues on both sides of the aisle. These efforts also played well at home and he was elected to a second term in 2004.
Recognized by the Missouri Citizens of the Arts and the Missouri Art Education Association, Bean's crowning achievements in the Missouri legislature revolved around constituent services and local issues. Both as a member of the Bootheel Caucus (aka the Bootheel Mafia) and as an individual legislator, he pushed hard for local projects like the Kennett Hope Center, local business development and safety lights for schools.
In addition to his wife, other survivors include: two sons, Jason Bean and Barry Bean of Peach Orchard; and one sister, Alma Coffey of Sikeston.
A memorial service will be conducted at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the First Presbyterian Church in Kennett. The Rev. Joe Porter will officiate.
Bradshaw Funeral Home of Kennett is in charge of arrangements.
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Memorial contributions may be made to:
Wings Cancer Foundation
100 North Humphreys Blvd.
Memphis, TN 38120
University of Mo. Delta Research Center
P.O. Box 160
Portageville, MO 63873