American Patriotic 10

Arlo "Skip" Beggs

December 25, 1932 ~ May 15, 2022 (age 89)

Obituary

Skip’s Story

“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong because someday in life you will be all of these.” - George Washington Carver

     As a quintessential educator mentor throughout his life, Arlo Robert Beggs, affectionately known as Skip, exemplified Carver’s wise words.  Encounters with Skip impressed people because of his incredibly high standards for himself and his efforts to inspire others to achieve their potential. He melded integrity, honesty, industriousness, lifelong learning, loyalty, faith, generosity and patriotism into a memorable character that will live on in spirit long after his death on May 15, 2022, in Jamestown, ND. 

     Skip’s family, students, colleagues and friends often heard him say, “Actions speak louder than words!”  Skip had a fantastic vocabulary and exceptional communication skills.  He matched actions with well-chosen words.  “Your word is your bond!” he said. “You must earn trust and respect.  You cannot demand it.”  

     Skip gave 100 percent to anything he tackled.   His laser-beam focus until he completed a project, along with acute attention to detail, applied to the smallest household task or massive project. Skip had no place in his life for procrastination! His busy mind raced steps ahead identifying the next item for his perpetual “to-do” lists long before finishing the job at hand.

     Growing up on a farm near Turtle Lake, ND, and serving in the U.S. Air Force and the ND National Guard profoundly shaped Skip.  His life began Christmas Day 1932 in Underwood.  He was the oldest of five born to Edna Nordquist Beggs and Arlo E. Beggs.  Skip was born on Sunday and died on Sunday, befitting his spiritual nature and devotion to his faith.

     Like other farm kids, Skip pulled field duty by age six and pitched in with chores galore.  Sometimes his dad or grandpa shouted to keep the tired boy from dozing off so he could stay on task! He rode horseback to country school, sometimes in adverse weather with his younger sister in his care.  The Beggs family also housed the country schoolteacher at their farm.

     Skip graduated from Turtle Lake High School in 1951.  He met 12-year-old Doris Keck at school.  Their friendship survived despite Doris closing the door on his prized car too hard for Skip’s liking (he meticulously maintained his vehicles). They married December 5, 1953.  Skip was then serving in the U.S. Air Force after enlisting in January 1952.  In January 1954 he shipped to Korea to serve in that conflict.  During Skip’s yearlong tour, he and Doris wrote daily while she worked at the Capitol in Bismarck, ND.   

     When Skip returned from Korea, he and Doris took a bus to Michigan where relatives lived. There they purchased a 1951 Dodge with money Doris saved. The couple later moved to Missouri where Skip completed Air Force service at Grandview Air Force Base.  Their daughter Connie Joy arrived May 16, 1956 in Harrisonville, MO.  Six weeks later they returned to Bismarck where Skip attended Bismarck Junior College, then earned his degree at Dickinson State Teacher’s College. He majored in Commerce and minored in Geography, Geology and Social Sciences.

     On February 20, 1959, Skip delivered his second daughter Stacey Jane. Skip’s experience in the hospital waiting room during Connie’s arrival spurred him to read and research childbirth.  He disliked being on the outskirts and vowed not to be in a waiting room again for such a special event.   Stacey came so quickly that his due diligence proved helpful. He was the first to meet and greet his baby girl.  Those two had an incredibly special bond from then on!

     Fresh from college, Skip landed a job as principal and one of three teachers at Versippi, a rural school near Dickinson.  A year later he accepted a teaching position in Williston, ND. He started at the junior high school teaching geography. He later moved to the high school where he taught typing and General Business.  He earned the moniker “General Beggs” from students because he was so committed to helping them develop solid business acumen.

     Skip believed “teachers should teach.” He spent his time physically in the classroom providing endless scenarios for problem-solving real-life business matters.  Although at times students wished “General Beggs” would shorten his lectures, many came back later in life to tell him in person or write letters of thanks for the knowledge and inspiration he provided.  Skip relished that as teaching’s ultimate reward!

     His passion for education led him to leadership in the Williston Education Association (WEA) where he advocated for better pay, working conditions and learning opportunities for teachers and students.  He served as chief negotiator for teacher contracts and held WEA offices including president.

     Although Skip spent 18 years in the classroom before moving to other pursuits, he always stayed a teacher at heart and applied those skills in his work.  In teaching, as with their marriage and parenting, Doris contributed every step of the way.  Once they tucked their girls in at night, they toiled at the kitchen table for hours. Skip graded papers. Doris recorded results in gradebooks or helped tally, average and post students’ grades.  Skip also took on many extra duties such as yearbook advisor and class advisor. 

     Skip’s many education accomplishments include:  Outstanding Young Educator, Distinguished Service Award, nominated by WEA for ND Teacher of the Year, and member of ND Teachers Professional Practices Commission.

     Skip’s next career stop, director of special services for the North Dakota Education Association (NDEA) in Bismarck, allowed him to provide a wide array of support to member educators.

     He moved to Jamestown in August 1979 to work as claims manager for Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Company where he supervised office administrative staff and a team of property adjusters who worked throughout ND.

     Life with Skip produced abundant memories, far too many to list but some so appreciated they must be mentioned:  Skip easily was King of Moonlighting!  He had extra jobs from the time he was young until he retired. Just a few examples: delivering Turtle Lake area farmers products to the creamery, operating a jackhammer for road construction projects, hotel desk clerk (night shifts), crop hail adjusting, driving wholesale food delivery trucks throughout northwest ND, property claim adjusting and working at a gas station pumping gas and washing cars.  He always went the extra mile so his daughters could have extra opportunities and experiences.

     In Jamestown he volunteered as a host for Frontier Village in the old schoolhouse, attended numerous veteran’s events (he still fit into his uniform from his Air Force days – no alternations needed!), and with Doris loved to help at First United Methodist Church.

     Skip held lifetime memberships in the National Education Association (NEA), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Legion, and Elks, including as a past Exalted Ruler.

     If you ever received a recommendation or thank you letter from Skip, it surely had to be among the most thorough ever.  He let you know precisely why you deserved it and it likely originated from his fingers flying on the old Remington typewriter with an occasional ping as he tapped the margin release, his signature thinking pause.

     Perhaps in later years he greeted you when he regularly walked many miles.  You’d remember his pleasant smile, full head of wavy silver-white hair, and the enthusiastic, “Good day to you!” Maybe you spotted him riding his bicycle throughout Jamestown achieving his once-a-year seasonal goal of a minimum 1,000 miles.  Near home, he walked his loyal dachshund Fritz, mowing his big yard or shoveling snow.

     Of all the roles he prized, probably “Papa Skip” took first place.   He adored his grandchildren! Hikes, canoeing, boating, bicycling, pulling wagons, reading, exploring – anything for those grands.  He and Doris logged many hours at soccer, swimming, basketball and dance events.  Ever-the-good sport, Skip even practiced ballet positions with his granddaughters.

     Skip lived more than 89 years and even until his final hours took myriad opportunities to express appreciation for the smallest kindnesses.  Despite battling the brutality of dementia his last few years, his deep values and Skip Spirit prevailed.  Countless times, his family and care team heard “thank you, you are wonderful” or “you are exquisite.”  

     How do you distill the life of more than 89 years of industriousness, generosity and integrity? It’s nearly impossible! But please honor Arlo “Skip” by seeing his life as beacon for decency, honesty, and compassion.  To carry Skip’s memory forward: respect the environment, refuse to litter (but pick it up if you see it), reward good service of hard-working people with a generous tip or even a letter of appreciation and recognition to that person (better yet courtesy copy the  supervisor), shovel a sidewalk for someone who can’t, thank a veteran for military service, of any other small kindness because “The little things are quite often the big things!”

 

     Skip’s family will cherish priceless memories while missing him deeply. Surviving him are his wife, Doris, Jamestown; daughters Connie (Jim) Moench, Bismarck, and Stacey Kelly, Kapolei, HI; grandchildren, Nate Halvorson and Alex Halvorson, Bismarck; Alecia Kelly and Thomas “Grady” Kelly, Kapolei, HI; Afton Kelly, Kailua, HI, and Alexandra “Lexie” Kelly, Newport Beach, CA; Three great grandchildren, Jackson Halvorson and Zoey Halvorson, Dickinson, and his youngest great grandson Harper who shared many special times with his Papa; Surviving siblings include,  Ardith (Percy) Radke, and Bryan (Janell) Beggs, all of Minot, ND; and Dennis Beggs, St. Francis, MN; also several nieces and nephews.

     His parents Arlo & Edna and brother Alden preceded him in death. Skip’s beloved, loyal companion and walking partner Fritz, his dachshund of almost 10 years also preceded him in death.

     A memorial service will be held at Edgewood Jamestown (ND) Chapel on Friday, July 8 at 2 p.m.

     A military service and interment will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, July 11 at the ND Veteran’s Cemetery, 1825 46th St., Mandan, ND, followed by a gathering at the nearby Ft. Lincoln Commissary.  In keeping with Skip’s deep devotion to the military, reflected even in his Edgewood home décor, red, white and blue attire or other patriotic symbolism would make him smile.

     Memorials will be directed to the ND Veteran’s Cemetery and the Alzheimer’s Association.

     Arrangements handled by Eddy Funeral Home, Jamestown. Share memories and sign guestbook at www.eddyfuneralhome.com

     Skip’s family appreciates the outpouring of love for him.  Special thanks to the staff at Edgewood who provided a safe, welcoming environment, and to Paul and Nikki Mandt, Jamestown, whose neighborly love, friendship and care helped him to be able to stay at his house as long as possible.

“Integrity is one of several paths, it distinguishes itself from the others because it is the right path, and the only one upon which you will never get lost.”

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Services

Celebration of Life
Friday
July 8, 2022

2:00 PM
Edgewood Senior Living
1104 25th St SW
Jamestown, ND 58401
Guaranteed delivery before the Celebration of Life begins

Committal
Monday
July 11, 2022

2:00 PM
North Dakota Veterans Cemetery
Hwy 1806
Mandan, ND 58554
Guaranteed delivery before the Committal begins

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