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Passing of Lee Beier

Dec 1, 2022

Remembrance of Lee Beier

Augustus Leon (Lee) Beier IV, 10/1/41-2/25/23

He had a big personality to match his tall frame. People remember his enthusiasm for conversation, rock ‘n roll, soccer, basketball (Go, Bulls!), and anything with a motor. Lee Beier, who died on February 25, 2023, after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease and Lewy Body Dementia, lived his 81 years to the fullest.

Born in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, on October 2, 1941, Lee grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, graduating from Monona Grove High School in 1959. His most important and formative experience as a youth was marching and playing the bass bugle with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps. He kept in touch with fellow members of the Corps for the rest of his life, attending reunions, maintaining friendships, and taking his sons to performances and competitions.

Lee attended the University of Wisconsin (Madison), where he majored in history and graduated in 1963. He then spent a Fulbright year in Nancy, France, where he firmed up his intention to become a professional historian. He completed his Ph.D. in history at Princeton University, beginning his life-long dedication to doing and teaching social history. He worked as a history professor, first at Lancaster University (UK), later at Illinois State University (Normal). He published many books, scholarly articles, and reviews, mainly focusing on 16th- and 17th-century British history.

Although Lee spent much of his life far from the woods and waters of northwestern Wisconsin, the small lakes of the region were always his happy place. He grew up enjoying summers at Pine Lake, near New Auburn, and, as an adult, owned cabins on, first, Fireside Lake, then Round Lake, where he lived full-time after his retirement in 2009. An avid swimmer, he was always first in the chilly spring waters after the ice went out, and took his last dive off the dock in September.

Lee Beier is survived by his children, Robert Joseph McCray Beier (Jen), Jesse Callaghan McCray Beier (Lisa), Jacob Leon McCray Beier, and Zachary James McCray Beier (Rachel). He is also survived by his ex-wife, Lucinda McCray, five grandchildren, and his sisters, Victoria, Ann, and Katherine. A celebration of his life is planned for early summer.

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