In Memoriam

Bob Beasley

Bob Beasley

We've lost another classmate. Bob Beasley passed away on July 11th after a courageous battle with cancer. He had a wonderful career in science and left a celebrity at the Science Museum here in Richmond. He left a very big footprint. I've included his obituary below...his memorial service will be next Saturday, the 22nd, on his birthday, at the Science Museum in Richmond.


  • BEASLEY, Robert Lyons, better known as "Bob" to those who had the privilege of knowing him, passed away on July 11, 2017, after a long and valiant struggle with cancer. He was born and raised in Richmond, Va., a city he loved dearly. He was a descendant of Robert Rose, the Reverend of St. John's Church at the time when Patrick Henry gave his infamous "give me liberty or give me death" speech. In his younger years, he was a choir boy at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, as well as a Cub Scout. He entered the University of Virginia in 1964 as an Echols Scholar and microbiology major, which was just the beginning of a lifelong love of learning. He was one of the original eight employees at the Department of Air Pollution in Virginia, which eventually became the Department of Environmental Quality, a division of the EPA. He also taught classes in environmental science at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. After 30 years of service, he retired and took a month long, cross-country trip in his van with just his dog and a camera for company. During his retirement, he was a dedicated volunteer at Maymont and the Science Museum of Virginia, doing everything from dissecting cow eyeballs to goat necropsies to teaching rats how to play basketball. He was an avid reader, especially of Douglas Adams, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, and John Steinbeck, a jazz aficionado, a woodworker (including building his own sailboats), a naturalist, a canoeist, an amateur photographer, a devoted genealogist, but most of all, a traveler. He and Mary Kay traveled to all 50 states, eight Canadian provinces, and five continents. His motto was "take only photos, leave only footprints," although he'd also be the first to tell you which plants were photosensitive and which could be scarred for decades by the slightest touch. He deeply loved animals of all shapes and sizes, but most notably dogs, goats, and, in his later years, cats. He leaves behind his beloved companion, adventuring partner, and soul mate of 40 years, wife, Mary Kay Beasley; two children, Amanda (Ryan May) and Marcellus (Cecilia); brother, Clifford (Wanda); and grandson, James May. He will be missed beyond measure. A Celebration of Life service will be held at the Science Museum of Virginia on his birthday, July 22, 2017, at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Science Museum Foundation, P.O. Box 11624 Richmond, Va. 23230 or Richmond Animal League.


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