Barbara and Gary Beson

“Hi Neighbor!” was the first introduction Barbara and Gary shared, living in the same housing complex in the early 1970’s near Charleston Air Force Base, Charleston, S.C., where Gary and Barbara’s spouse were stationed. Future events led to single parenthood for both, Barbara with 2 daughters and Gary and his 2 sons. Their first date was a Kris Kristofferson concert, Gary driving Barbara and her 2 daughters to the show in Charleston in his 1965 Mustang convertible…top down!

Barbara, a native of Norman, OK, studied at University of Oklahoma, and obtained a degree in Social Work from the University of Hawaii. and Gary, raised in Dayton, OH, earned his zoology degree at Ohio State University, with a plan for dental school. Before their paths crossed in Charleston, Gary, who had enlisted in the ROTC program at OSU, was offered the opportunity for flight training with the U.S. Air Force, and following fixed wing and helicopter training, took his assignment in C141’s, cargo jets based at Charleston. Gary also flew sorties during the Vietnam War, while stationed in Thailand.

But their relationship took a twist for Gary, when Barbara and her daughters returned to Norman for family support. After Gary’s numerous visits to Norman, they were married in 1975, and the following year Gary received orders to report to Clark Air Force Base, near Manilla, Philippines. So the Air Force “Brady Bunch” enjoyed the next 2 ½ years in their Third World Country, with servants, wonderful locals who where very attentive to their needs, SCUBA diving, and Gary’s staff job…very little flight time. Barbara volunteered at a local clinic to keep busy, but very much enjoyed the leisure life that servants can bring! One of Barbara’s daughters took up horseback riding, and became a champion in the local circles. The next duty station was Hawaii where intra-island sailing, and beautiful days at the beach kept the family busy.

The Beson’s moved to Seattle in 1981, where Barbara put her degree to work, setting up a practice for Adult Drug Abuse Program Development, a county sponsored out patient program. Barbara also worked at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Tacoma, for 10 years providing discharge/counseling services for patients and their families. After 28 years in the U.S. Air Force, Gary retired as a Lt. Colonel in November, 1990. But Gary wanted to continue flying, and accepted a position with ATA, an Indianapolis-based commercial airline, flying L1011’s stateside and internationally. However the flight schedules required Gary to catch flights that would get him to departure airports, walking off one aircraft after a 4-5 hour flight from Seattle, and into the cockpit to fly 6 hours to Germany. Commuting to the east coast to make flights led them to a cross country move to south Baldwin County. They found the perfect place for “Magic”, their 38’ sailboat…at their backdoor on Stone Quarry canal, where they moved in 1996, after renting a home in Josephine for a year. Gary flew 12,000 hours for ATA until he reached 60, FAA forced retirement for commercial pilots.

The Beson’s soon became the leadership in community support and service…Barbara on the Board of the Josephine Homeowners Assn., Sunday service pianist at Josephine Baptist Church for the last 6 years, and Ladies Bridge Club. Gary has served as President and Board member of JVFD for 9 years, Deacon for the Baptist Church, and Minister Ted’s right hand, also known affectionately as the “Vicar.” He also served as Rear Commodore for The Point Yacht Club.

Gary’s sons now live in Charleston, and Pittsburgh, and Barbara’s daughters both reside in Gig Harbor, WA., and a total of 11 grandchildren to visit. But, with great regret, the Beson’s decided that they need to be close to the family, and have their house for sale, with plans to return to Seattle. When they depart, Josephine will terribly miss this wonderful family…thank you for your contributions to the community and your endearing friendship!


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