R Mark Beeson, the founding pastor of Granger Community Church, always planned on meeting up with friends and family in Heaven. He went to that reunion on December 17, after a courageous 15-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
Mark was the son of Reginald Max and Arah Wandah (Fouts) Beeson and grew up in Greenfield, Indiana. His brother Matt (Linda) Beeson and sister Becky (Joel) Hunter were his lifelong best-friends.
In the summer of 1976, Mark married the love of his life, Sheila McNichols. They were married for 44 years and raised three children: Amber, married to Ryan Cox, Aaron, married to Tracy (Frost) Beeson, and Angela, married to John Keim. He adored each of his eight grandchildren: Ruby, Clara and Charlie Cox, Fisher and Ford Beeson, Lydia, Norah and Audrey Keim.
Mark had countless degrees, awards, accolades and accomplishments, but he never cared about any of those things. It was his charisma and care for others that drew people to him. Even on his darkest days he wanted to encourage, to help, to tell someone how much they mattered to God. Mark’s favorite Bible verse was John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” And that’s the way he lived. He was only 67, but lived so fully it was as if he’d lived to be 100.
He loved calling out the best in those around him, whether they were in their 90s or in second grade. There was an especially soft spot in his heart for middle school students. He spent a week at middle school camp every summer for 49 years. He really wanted to make it an even 50, so it’s safe to assume he will be hosting middle school camp in Heaven this summer.
Mark’s hilarious stories were just one of the things that made him so magnetic and relatable. His self-deprecating humor, combined with his brilliant wit and comedic timing, made him remarkably entertaining whether he was around the breakfast table with five people or preaching to thousands.
He was a photographer, stating, “If you don’t take the picture you won’t have the picture.”
He loved nature and had unending, detailed knowledge about animals.
He was an outdoorsman, often testing his survival skills with large animal encounters (and that one time he got stranded in a storm in Alaska for 14 days).
He often said, “Attitude is everything. We can’t control what happens, but we can control how we react to what happens.” That’s why, when he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, he didn’t spend his time fighting death, but doubled down to squeeze more life out of this ridiculously short time we have.
His family can’t wait to join him in Heaven, where they will be reunited with the man who made everyone brave enough to take night hikes without a flashlight.
Due to COVID-19, funeral services that took place on Sunday, December 20 were private. The celebration of his life is available to view online.
In lieu of flowers, consider sending a kid to camp. Memorial contributions may be made to Granger Community Church for camp scholarships, by texting “Camp” to 574.575.4114 or giving online.
To send condolences to the family, please visit McGannHay.com.