Obituary | Peter Beeson

Photo Credit: Peter Beeson, courtesy Krista Niles
Mon, 02/16/2015 - 00:00

Peter Gaither Beeson, 69, of Lincoln, passed away February 16, 2015. Pete was born in San Antonio, Texas but grew up in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C. He returned to Texas in 1963 graduating from Austin High School in 1964. Pete received his MA in 1972 and his PhD in 1979. He went on to a distinguished career directing health and mental health programs for the State of Nebraska. During the 1980's farm crisis he collaborated on a major federally funded study of rural mental health with David Johnson and Suzanne Ortega. Pete was a leader in research and service delivery for rural mental health and served as the president of the National Association of Rural Mental Health and as the editor of the Rural Mental Health Journal.

In 2002, at the very young age of 57, Pete was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Among other things, Pete turned to poetry to capture the final chapters in his journey.

Here I Am
-Peter G. Beeson
(From Sparking Memories: The Alzheimer's Poetry Project Anthology)

So I'm here,
Well, sort of here,
Mostly so,
But not quite all,

There is a detached
A distant vagueness,
An absence
To my being.

Life's become a struggle,
The day-to-day a challenge,
The ordinary a novelty,
The routine an obstacle.

I long for the openness,
The emptiness,
The vastness
Of the Great Plains.

I long for a place
That matches my mind,
A place detached from memory,
An endless nothingness.

A place to lose oneself,
A place to disappear,
A place to become one
With earth and sky.


Obituary (Lincoln Journal Star)

Peter Beeson: Anger, frustration at a diagnosis in middle age (Lincoln Journal Star)