Alexander Beim, beloved husband and father of two sons, passed away at his home at the age of 86 on November 24, 2023. He was preceded in death by his darling Judy on December 3, 2022.
Alexander “Alex” was born 15 September 1937 in Riga, Latvia, the eldest of two sons born to Joseph and Anela (Januskevics) Beim. The Beim family fled Latvia during World War II, being displaced for numerous years in Prague and Germany, before finally being allowed to immigrate to the United States. The family settled in Nyack, New York in 1951 when Alex was age 14 and his younger brother George was age 9. Alex began his freshman year in high school where had to learn to speak English by immersion. Alex attended Antioch College for two years before enlisting in the U.S. Army where he served in France for three years of active duty, followed by two years of ROTC cadet and active reserve duty while he attended college at Ohio State University. In September 1960, he met the love of his live, Judith Ann Chamberlin. On the memorable day of June 8, 1962, Alex graduated OSU with a Bachelor of Science degree, was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, and married Judy.
Alex’s 30+ year military career included many interesting assignments and 21 moves in the first 11 years. He was assigned to missile air defense during the Cuban missile crisis, where his government housing was adjacent to nuclear missile silos that defended the New York City metropolitan area. He was next stationed in Germany where his command was cut short when he was diagnosed with Hodkin’s Lymphoma, but recovered after a year of treatment at Walter Reed Hospital, the same year when first son Peter was born. Alex was next assigned to the Adjutant General’s Corps in Washington, D.C., followed by a combat tour for a year in Vietnam. The next duty station was Fort Eustis, Virginia, where second son Alexander II (also “Alex”) was born. Over the next two years, Alex obtained his Masters’s Degree in Public and Personnel Administration from George Washington University and bought the house in Bailey’s Crossroad that would be the family’s home for over 50 years. Alex spent the next 9 years based in the Washington D.C. area working in records management and micrographics, where he often traveled to speak at conferences and published or edited papers in various professional journals. Alex’s next 3 years were spent in personnel management at NATO’s Allied Forces Central Europe command in the Netherlands, where the family enjoyed many sightseeing trips in Europe. After the death of his father in 1982 when he became the primary caretaker of his mother, the family returned to the Washington, D.C. area where Alex spent the last 7 years of his military career. He presided for 5 years on the Council of Review Boards, reviewing less-than-honorable discharge matters. His final 2 years were as Deputy Director of the National Guard Bureau’s human resources office, which created policy and programs for military and civilian guard personnel in all states. Alex retired from the military in 1989 as Lieutenant Colonel after over 30 years of active military service.
Alex returned to U.S. civil service in 1990 as a GS 13 civilian in the same National Guard Bureau office, working in a similar role, which he held for 8 years. He then transferred to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoological Park with a promotion to GS 14, where he managed the zoo’s administration, budget, and technology functions from an office that overlooked the cheetah yard. He truly enjoyed working with the animal-loving staff until he retired for the second time as a GS 15 Associate Director in 2010, after 20+ years of civil service.
Alex and Judy spent their retirement years enjoying each other’s company. They regularly traveled to Florida and the Bahamas, where they feasted on seafood and collected carved pelicans. They made annual trips to Germany and other European destinations where they enjoyed visiting old friends, sightseeing, shopping, and acquiring a diverse assortment of souvenirs. In total, they visited over 100 cities in 40 U.S. states and over 80 cities in 30 different foreign countries during their retirement years. In 2012 they published a cookbook of favorite family recipes they had perfected over the years, titled We Live in Order to Eat. They enjoyed entertaining local friends with great food and drink or a dip in the pool on a hot summer day. Alex also published a Beim family compiled history and genealogy, titled Isaac Bei Until Today, that traces his lineage to the 16th-century Crimean Karaims from whom he descends.
Alex lovingly cared for Judy from her 2019 diagnosis of MDS, which eventually progressed to acute leukemia. He was by Judy’s side at every hospital visit, every minute of the day. The couple celebrated their 60th diamond wedding anniversary in 2022 shortly before Judy’s passing. Alex is now at rest, reunited with his Judy.
Alex was preceded in death by his son Peter in 2021 and wife Judy in 2022. He is survived by his son Alex (Deena), daughter-in-law Kay, granddaughters Brittany (Taylor) and Kira, brother George (Caterina), and many nieces and nephews.
Lt. Col. Alexander Beim will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery on February 14 at 11:00 a.m. with full military honors. Among his awards are the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Defense and Army Meritorious Service Medals, Vietnam Forces Honor Medal, a Distinguished Service Citation from National Micrographics Association, and an Eagle Award and a Heritage Award from the National Guard Bureau, as well as many Civil Service Merit and Special Service awards.
A visitation will be held on February 13 at 5:00-8:00 p.m. at Everly Funeral Home and Cremation Service, 6161 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22044.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that those who are able make a donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (afsp.org).