Pastor Jim Beals, of Hood River, Ore., died at his home on Monday, Jan. 5, 2009, at 12:50 a.m. Jim was diagnosed in Stage IV colon cancer in August 2002 and although his prognosis was bleak, he fought hard to live to help his wife, Becky, raise their girls, Sarah Jo, Juliann and Dena.
His first love, though, was to Whom he devoted his life — his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Born Sept. 29, 1960, in Sioux City, Iowa, to Ken and Joyce Beals, Jim had one brother, Steve. Jim graduated from high school in Sioux City and then went off to college at Mid-America Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas.
His call to ministry began when he heard a gentleman speak in chapel about coming to serve for a summer at Golden Bell Ranch, a church camp in Colorado. That gentleman would eventually become Jim’s father-in-law, as he and Becky were later married at that camp in the mountains of Colorado on Nov. 26, 1982.
He finished his schooling at Southern Nazarene University, where Becky was attending, and received his master’s degree at Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo. His ministry years began in Livermore, Calif., as an associate pastor; Grants Pass, Ore., as a senior pastor; and then Jim and his family came to Hood River in March of 1997. He was privileged to pastor the Hood River Church of the Nazarene for nearly 12 years. Jim’s heart for leading people to the Lord led him to tell the Lord that he was willing to do whatever it took to win people for Him, even if it meant losing his life. He always felt like his cancer diagnosis was a response to that prayer and he used his cancer journey to touch the lives of people literally across the world.
He had a passion for missions and it inspired him to go on several work and witness trips to Africa, Russia and Fiji. He was able to take each of his girls on some of those trips to instill in them a love of people around the world.
Mostly his hobbies included something to do with electronics, as he was always interested in the latest gadget.
He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Becky; and his children, Sarah Jo and John Bechtold, of Olathe, Kansas, daughter Juliann, a junior at Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma City, and daughter Dena, a senior at Hood River Valley High School.
He is also survived by his parents, Ken and Joyce Beals, of Sioux City, Iowa; his brother, Steve, and Arika, Emory and Gwendolyn Beals, of Rapid City, S.D. Other family includes his in-laws: Bob and Jo Green and Jan Green, of Bothell, Wash.; Lynn and Cat Green, of Oklahoma City; Lonnie, Christie and Scott Green, of Bryan, Texas; Rick, Marylynn, Tarah and Ben Warren, of Oklahoma; Andrea and Marla Green, of Brookings, Ore.; Steve, Teri and Ryan, of Washington; Rob and Angie Green, of Bend, Ore., and a host of Beals family and Green family members who loved him.
Jim is preceded in death by his grandparents, uncles and an aunt and his much-loved nephew, Spencer Green. He also leaves behind the church family, the people of the Hood River Church of the Nazarene to whom he has loved and devoted his time and talents.
Any memorial contributions may be donated in his memory to this Nazarene Church. Pastor Jim’s funeral will be held at the Hood River Church of the Nazarene this Friday, Jan. 9, at 3 p.m. The church is located at 2168 Belmont Drive in Hood River.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson’s Tribute Center (Funerals, Receptions, Cremations), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River, OR 97031; 541-386-1000; www.andersonstributecenter.com.
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