Obituaries » R. Harmon Beauchamp
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July 11, 1929 - December 31, 2020
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Richard Harmon Beauchamp, 91, died December 31, 2020 at Westminster Canterbury, with his children by his side, following months of declining health.
Born in Tampa, FL., on July 11, 1929 to Richard Grafton and Hilma Harmon Beauchamp, Harmon grew up in Jacksonville, FL. He excelled in high school track as a javelin thrower and accepted a track scholarship to the University of Alabama. Upon graduation in 1951 with a degree in Industrial Engineering, he entered the Naval OCS program and served as an Ordinance Officer at the Naval Ordinance Plant in Macon, GA. It was in Macon that he teamed up with Mary Launius for a game of bridge, and they played cards together for another 58 years until her death in 2013.
He is survived by daughter Laura Beauchamp Mullen and her husband Patrick of San Luis Obispo, CA, and son, Allen Beauchamp of Orange, TX, as well as grandchildren Paige Mullen, London, England, and Michael and Anna Mullen, San Luis Obispo, CA, nephew Mike Morgan of Stone Mountain, GA, and niece Meredith Morgan, Jacksonville, FL. He also was predeceased by his sister Ann Morgan.
Harmon began his paper industry career in Valdosta, GA in 1955. He and Mary moved around the country to paper manufacturing mills in Tomahawk WI, Jacksonville FL, Orange, TX, and Big Island, VA. They raised their children in Orange from 1966-1980 but it is Lynchburg they enthusiastically called home for nearly 40 years. Harmon retired from a job he loved in 1994 as General Manager of the Georgia Pacific Mill in Big Island.
A defining point for him occurred in 1985 when the James River flooded the Big Island paper mill, threatening the livelihood of the employees and the economic wellbeing of the town itself. The plant was antiquated, and Harmon was afraid the company owner at the time would not rebuild in the face of such devastation. Mill employees and residents rallied together working day and night to remove debris deposited from the 20-foot flood waters and within two weeks paper was rolling off the assembly. The Big Island mill marked its 125th year of operation in 2017. Retelling this story always caused a catch in his throat.
He served on the Boards of VA Manufacturers Association, Central VA Industries, Council on Economic Education, Greater Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce, the Lynchburg Health Care Coalition and Miller Home, among others.
After retirement, Harmon and Mary cruised and travelled with longtime Lynchburg friends and family to fascinating locales. He thrived on meeting new people and his typical good humor and quick wit made him one popular guy. He enjoyed hunting, especially with his son, reading mystery and WWII novels, classical music and opera, and a Perfect Manhattan. He loved golf and it was a sad day when he hung up his clubs at Boonsboro County Club for the last time at 89. In case anyone had any doubt, he also celebrated Bama football with a passion. Roll Tide!
An active and involved member of Peakland United Methodist Church, Harmon served on the church’s Administrative Board and rarely missed a Saturday men’s breakfast. His “spot” on the second row, 8:30 service, is now available.
Harmon and Mary moved to Westminster Canterbury in 2011 and found a true home in the community. Harmon relished his time there, whether it was dining with his favorite pals, leading sing-alongs, Thursday night poker, or kibitzing with staff. He served on the Residents’ Council and was President of the Westminster Canterbury Foundation Board.
Even this last year as failing health and pandemic concerns separated him from friends and family, he managed to keep his humor intact with the devoted and professional 6th floor Hearthside staff that gave him such care. Also, Harmon’s family can never repay the kindness, love, fun and great organizational skills that Charlotte Fischer brought to him. We are so grateful.
Given current Covid-19 precautions, a private memorial will be held at Peakland United Methodist Church.
For those wishing to make a memorial contribution please consider Westminster Canterbury Foundation Fellowship Fund, wclynchburg.org; Peakland United Methodist Church, peaklandumc.org; or the Mary and Harmon Beauchamp Fund at the Greater Lynchburg Community Foundation, lynchburgfoundation.org.
Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family.