CAPTAIN JOHN "JB" GRAHAM BEVERLY, USA
Captain John "JB" Graham Beverly (1928-2016) served in the United States Army as a helicopter pilot and maintenance engineer during the Korean War. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Florida in 1951 and, following his military service, a Master's degree and CPA certification from Florida State University and Doctorate in Accounting from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He will be remembered especially for his love of flying, his extensive volunteer work with the National Naval Aviation Museum, and his colorful stories.
From the very beginning, aviation was a huge part of JB's life. Asked when his family knew he wanted to be a pilot, JB responded. "Well, they tell me the first word out of my mouth was 'airplane.'" He talked about taking crop duster rides on the sly at age 6; seeing the Hindenburg dirigible floating over Tallahassee; and gathering with neighbors on the front porch to watch airliners come and go over his house. Midway through college, and unbeknownst to his parents, JB took the physical for flight school and passed. Returning home that semester, he announced to his parents that he was going to Pensacola for flight training. Coming from a well-educated family whose members either held graduate degrees or worked at a university, this plan was not well received. As JB tells it, his father responded by putting a 5 dollar bill in his hand, saying, "And don't let the bus doors hit you in the behind as you board for Gainesville."
JB joined the US Army in 1951 and began flight training in Texas. He had many stories about flying during his Army days. Once an overenthusiastic trainee jumped into the cockpit of a twin engine and started it up while JB was on the tarmac. The propeller "cut clean through my graduation ring - I heard the whistle as it flew by my ear." He talked about the adventure of flying from San Francisco to Seattle through a pea soup fog; of the time he took off without filing a flight plan and was contacted halfway through the flight by the "Eye in the Sky"; and of the time he snagged and broke a major power line on his skids as he was practicing a helicopter landing. (He managed to land the chopper in one piece and also lived to tell the story, although power in the small town nearby went out. That was the one time, JB said, when his commanding officer was speechless - he just stared JB down, and turned and walked away.)
JB was sent to Korea in 1953, toward the end of the Korean War. His job was to maintain the aircraft and, as he put it, "sympathize with distressed pilots when their planes weren't fixed on time." Because he could fly a plane, he was also called to fly some combat missions, including retrieving planes that were downed. JB often said that he was glad to have been able to serve in Korea and that the Korean War changed the direction of his personal life, as well: After the war, he was stationed in Germany, where he met and married Mary Jean Fauria, his wife for 54 years.
JB was professor of Accounting and Finance at the University of Notre Dame for 25 years. He was one of three professors to secure major funding from the US Air Force to research firms in the Defense industry in the late 70's. Upon retiring with his wife to Pensacola, FL in 1993, he returned to his passion for aviation. A member of the Wings of Gold Society, JB volunteered at the National Naval Aviation Museum for 17 years, where he logged over 5,200 hours as a Tour Guide and Security Division head. He conducted extensive research for the museum regarding air-launched missiles used by all of the services, and was instrumental in designing informational content for the aircraft display placards.
At JB's funeral service in Barrancas National Cemetery, two white and red-tipped jets roared directly over the Committal Shelter as the final note of "Taps" sounded - a providential but fitting tribute to a man who loved aviation.
JB was predeceased by his wife, Mary Jean Fauria, who died in 2012. He is survived by his two daughters, Jane Singhal and Daria Jones, and five granddaughters, Sonia, Maia, Audrei, Rachel and Sarah.
This tribute was made possible by:
Dr. Stephen Newsome
Mrs. Rosalie Rouchon and family
Mrs. Jane Singhal
CAPT and Mrs. John L. Woodward
University of Notre Dame Department of Accountancy
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