William Henry Beeker
Minnie Elizabeth Russell
James M. Ezzell
Mary Elizabeth Foate
John Turner Beeker Sr.
Fanny L. Ezzell
John Turner Beeker Jr.


Family Links

1. Anna Elizabeth Madden

John Turner Beeker Jr. 1 2 3 4

  • Born: 8 Jan 1913, Winfield, Marion, AL, USA 1 2 3
  • Marriage (1): Anna Elizabeth Madden
  • Died: May 1985, Birmingham, Jefferson, AL at age 72 2
  • Buried: Birmingham: Forest Crest Cemetery, Jefferson, AL, USA 2

   FamilySearch ID: L5VT-6Q5.

  Noted events in his life were:

1. Census in 1920 in Winfield, Marion, AL, USA. 1 The 1920 census recorded owning a home; John T. Beeker, barber in own barber shop, 33, living with wife Fanny L., 32; son John T. Beeker, Jr., 7; and daughter Mary E. Beeker, 4. John and his parents were born in North Carolina. Fanny, her parents, and her children were born in Alabama.

2. Census in 1930 in Winfield, Marion, AL, USA. 5 The 1930 census recorded owning a $2000 home: John T. Beeker, barber in barber shop, 43, living with wife Fannie, 42; son John T. Jr., 17; and daughters Mary, 14, and Sarah F., 7. John and his parents were born in North Carolina. Fannie and her children were born in Alabama.

3. Newspaper: Marion County News: Registered at Florence State Teachers College...John T. Beeker, Mrs. J. T. Beeker, Winfield., 2 May 1935, Hamilton, Marion, AL, USA. 6

4. Newspaper: Auburn University Commencement: School of Education: John Turner Beeker Jr., 15 Aug 1937, Birmingham, Jefferson, AL. 7

5. Census in 1940 in Winfield, Marion, AL, USA. 8 The 1940 census recorded owning a $6000 home: Irene Madden, widowed, 49, living with her daughter Elizabeth Beeker, 26, and stepson John Turner Beeker, high school teacher, 27. Everyone was born in Alabama.

6. Occupation: Employer: Brown Service Insurance Co., Birmingham AL on 16 Oct 1940 in Winfield, Marion, AL, USA. 3

7. He was described as 5' 11" 165 lbs. Hazel eyes, brown hair, light complexion on 16 Oct 1940 in Winfield, Marion, AL, USA. 3

8. Census in 1950 in Birmingham, Jefferson, AL. 4 The 1950 census recorded at 7901 7th Avenue: John T. Beeker Jr., mold supervisor at foundry, 37, living with wife Anne E., machine operator in metal works, 36. They were born in Alabama.

9. Newspaper: Birmingham Post-Hearld: Cancer patient clings to family and to hope, 31 Jan 1985, Birmingham, Jefferson, AL. 9 (photo) John Beeker of East Lake says hospice is "the best thing they've come up with " because his wife, Elizabeth, can help take care of him.

HEADLINE: Cancer patient clings to family, and to hope

John T. Beeker's blood pressure had dropped dramatically. His body temperature climbed. Infection had followed an operation, causing the 72-year-old cancer patient to take a sudden turn for the worse.

"I looked down and saw all those people around me. I saw my wife, I thought, I can't leave her. I've got to take care of her.' It wasn't a dream. I can't really describe what happened.... It was beautiful."

Beeker sits on the couch of his pleasant East Lake home and speaks matter-of-factly of this near-death experience. He is not one to dwell on its significance.

Yet Beeker says today he is no longer afraid of dying. The former schoolteacher and retired production supervisor says he only fears a lengthy, painful death.

"People ask me if I'm glad I came back from that. Had it not been for my wife, I'd say no. I don't know what I face now as far as pain and suffering.... But I've been with her 52 years. She took care of me, and I took care of her," he says.

At times, Beeker faces the issue of death head on. Other times, he talks about hope that his cancer can be beaten.

Cancer has invaded Beeker's mouth, throat and esophagus. His gravelly voice is weak. He cannot swallow properly. Sometimes it feels as if the tumor in his esophagus will strangle him. Once a strapping, 210 pounds, he now weighs 158.

Beeker still retains his clear blue eyes, cutting wit and shock of white hair. He likes to talk about fishing, quail hunting and his days with the Work Projects Administration during the Great Depression.

Beeker can tell these stories in the home in which he has lived for more than 30 years largely because of the hospice program at Baptist Medical Center-Montclair.

Hospice enables him to manage his illness and remain comfortable without hospitalization. Hence, he can stay at home with his wife, Elizabeth, 71.

"I can go to bed when I want and get up when I want," Beeker says.

Some cancer patients need to cling to what is familiar. For Beeker, those things are the friends who drop by, his wife's gentle nature, the sound of the couple's two poodles scratching to open the kitchen door.

Hospice nurses visit at least twice a week. Volunteers can help when there are errands to run, prescriptions to fill, appointments to meet. Beeker, for instance, has not had a haircut for some time and says he looks "like an old man in the woods."

Mary Williams, a medical social worker for hospice, will try to find a barber who makes house calls.

Beeker says he treasures these days at home. They follow intermittent hospitalizations, chemotherapy, radiation treatments and six operations.

Debra Williams, a hospice nurse, visits Beeker two of the future. times a week. She teaches Mrs. Beeker to gauge her husband's pain medicine and prepare his liquid diet. The nurse also considers it her job to put the nursing duties aside and just sit and talk.

"The fact that I am a registered nurse is incidental. I treat hospice patients as friends. Any old nurse can dress a wound, but not every nurse can be a friend and dress a wound," she says. "It helps patients to see someone who's not going to talk about disease and doctors."

Ms. Williams speaks from her hospice office, where she said befriending dying patients can take its toll. She attends her patients' funerals.

"I can't stop them from dying. But I can make à difference," she says. "I can help patients live all the days of their lives. They may not have lived before this, but I say, 'Buddy, you're going to live now.""

Rarely does cancer affect only the patient.

Mrs. Beeker, who has no children, says hospice takes some of the pressure off her because she knows there is always someone to call. And she says the hospice visits seem to lift her husband's spirits.

"I try my best not to think about things. I try to keep doing something. Once I got upset and started cooking a big meal, but there was no one who could eat it but me and the dogs," she says. Mrs. Beeker used to linger in bed during the early morning. Now, she jumps up quickly for fear her daydreams will turn to thoughts

Still, she says her husband retains his sense of humor and positive attitude and she must too.

"As long as he can have it, I can. I believe a positive attitude will prolong his life. I kid him sometimes, tell him he better not go off and leave me," she says.

Beeker comes into the living room. He wants to know what the "hen party" is all about. He sits on the couch, continually rubbing his throat. It is a habit he has developed.

He coughs a few times and wheezes a bit. It has not been a good day. But he keeps talking, recalling earlier days, when Mrs. Beeker jumped up and down over his $200 a month paycheck at U.S. Pipe and Foundry Co. Blessed with a proficient memory, Beeker recites the serial number of the first pipe mold to make 5,000 pipes. He remembers his former street addresses and talks about the early days of his marriage.

This is a time to look back. And Beeker makes it clear he has no regrets.

John married Anna Elizabeth Madden, daughter of Lee Roy Madden and Ethel Irene Mace. (Anna Elizabeth Madden was born on 11 Dec 1913 in , Fayette, AL, USA,10 died on 13 Jul 1995 in Birmingham, Jefferson, AL 10 11 and was buried on 14 Jul 1995 in Birmingham: Forest Crest Cemetery, Jefferson, AL, USA 10 11.)


1 1920 United States Census, https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MXD9-8L2 John T Beeker, Winfield, Marion, Alabama, United States; citing sheet 7A.

2 Find A Grave, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/121624773.

3 Ancestry.com, U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 (Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.), John Turner Beeker Jr. b. 8 Jan 1919 Winfield AL.

4 "1950 United States Census," https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6F72-56HY John T Becker Jr. Birmingham AL.

5 1930 United States Census, https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:3JKT-P6Z John T Beeker winfield AL.

6 "The Marion County News (Hamilton, AL)," 2 May 1935, page 1.

7 Birmingham News (Birmingham, AL) (Birmingham, Jefferson, Alabama.), 15 Aug 1937, page 22.

8 1940 United States Census, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V1P8-L5S Irene Maddden Winfield AL.

9 "Birmingham Post-Herald (Birmingham, AL)," 31 Jan 1985, page 8.

10 Find A Grave, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/121624781.

11 Birmingham News (Birmingham, AL) (Birmingham, Jefferson, Alabama.), 13 Jul 1995, obituary of Elizabeth Beeker.

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