Lucile Elizabeth Beaver, who grew up on the campus of Riverside Military Academy, where her father Gen. Sandy Beaver, served decades as president, has died, the school announced Thursday.
A life member of the Riverside Board of Trustees, Beaver died peacefully on Tuesday. She was 94.
During her father's 57-year tenure as Riverside's president, Beaver was a trusted advisor and confidant, the school said in a news release announcing her death.
“Lucile never lost her love and appreciation for RMA and its mission as a college preparatory school for young men,” said Col. Staś Preczewski, the current president at Riverside. “Her father trusted her insight, and alumni who knew them both say they were very similar in their intellect and business acumen.”
Preczewski said he last visited with Beaver in February, "and she was still keenly interested in how the Academy was doing,” he said.
A Gainesville native, Beaver's life was intertwined with the RMA cadets her father presided over. When the cadets reported to the RMA campus in Hollywood, Florida, for the winter semester, she traveled with her parents to Florida and attended classes with the cadets.
Her life took her far beyond RMA and Gainesville, and she is remembered as a professional librarian who worked at the highest levels of the federal government and who traveled the world for opera. She was an active member of The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., for over 50 years.
For many years she took pride in being the volunteer librarian for the church’s prestigious choir.
She was born February 1, 1926, in Gainesville, the fifth child of Sandy and Annice Lowery Beaver. After graduating from Gainesville High School as valedictorian, she attended Agnes Scott College where she was inducted into The Phi Beta Kappa Society as was her father when a student at the University of Georgia.
She graduated with a degree in math and continued her education at the University of Georgia, earning a master’s degree in math.
But it was her next degree, a master’s from Columbia University’s School of Library Service, which launched her career as a librarian, first at RMA and eventually for the Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C.
With her master’s in library service in hand, she returned to RMA to be the librarian and serve as the Academy’s hostess. She spent five years in those positions, which further cemented her love for RMA and especially the Corps of Cadets in Class A uniforms parading on Sunday afternoons.
Seth Wagner of McHenry, Illinois, a Riverside alumnus, recalled wonderful memories of rubbing elbows with Beaver during his four years at Riverside and again as an adult many years later.
“Lucile was one of those genuine persons who, whenever you saw her, she greeted you like she saw you just yesterday,” Wagner said.
In 1959 she transferred from Germany to Washington, D.C. to work on the overseas recruiting team of Army Special Services and was responsible for recruiting all librarians for oversees positions.
In 1963 she returned to actual library work, this time as a reference librarian for the Federal Aviation Agency. She eventually was named chief of the Department of Transportation Library.
In 1976 she was promoted to the GS-15 position of director of the DOT Library. She retired from that position in March 1982, and, at that time, she was one of very few women serving in the federal government at the GS-15 level.
She was passionate about classical music, especially opera and traveled annually to hear world-class performances and rarely missed the Salzburg Festival in Austria. Her favorite singer was Placido Domingo, and her favorite opera was Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
Her affection and loyalty to Riverside never waned and she traveled to Gainesville for board meetings for many years. In 2013 the school's library was named in her honor, The Lucile Beaver Library.
Lucile was preceded in death by her parents Sandy and Annice Beaver, her brother, John L. Beaver; her sisters, Betty Beaver, Dorothy Beaver, and Louise Chandler. She is survived by her cousin Angela Beaver Mack (Mrs. Dennis Mack) of Huntsville, Alabama, her loyal attendant Diane Downey, and many friends.
The dates for a memorial service at The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church and her burial in the Beaver family plot in AltaVista Cemetery in Gainesville are yet to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made in Lucile’s memory to Riverside Military Academy, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, at 2001 Riverside Drive, Gainesville, GA, 30501.
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