A rose for Vera Frierson Beech

Published 7:00 am Saturday, September 3, 2016

OBIT Vera Beech

Long-time educator and active community member Vera Frierson Beech passed away this week.

Suzy McDonald, Beech’s friend of 46 years, said Beech taught her that every life has value and potential, even if people don’t always see the potential in themselves.

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“She was a very selfless person. She was always concerned for other people, more than herself,” McDonald said.

Beech grew up in the Nicholson area, attending Nicholson Elementary School, Picayune Junior High and Picayune Memorial High School.

She graduated from Picayune Memorial High School the summer before her senior year, before attending Pearl River Community College and then Mississippi State University, where she graduated in 1978.

Beech returned home and took a position at South Side Elementary teaching fifth and second grade classes, said McDonald.

After getting her master’s and specialist degrees, she became the principal at Nicholson Elementary until her retirement in January.

All in all, Beech dedicated 38 years to the Picayune School District, according to her obituary.

“She loved all kids,” McDonald said. “She was particularly driven to help those who where not in a great position.”

McDonald said in one instance, Beech called her early in the morning because she had heard about a shooting in the area.

McDonald said Beech told her, “I need to know who got shot because I have babies there.”

When she found out that it was the parent of one of her students, Beech went to the apartment to comfort the child, McDonald said.

“Her job was not just employment, it was a vocation to her,” McDonald said.

She recounted another instance when one of Beech’s students broke into South Side Elementary and vandalized every room except hers. Instead, the student left a rose on her desk.

“He said he was angry at the system but these two people have been so kind,” McDonald said.

She said there were many similar stories where her friend went above and beyond to help her students.

“She didn’t ever tackle a job that she didn’t ever give more than 110 percent,” McDonald said.

Beech wasn’t inspiring just her students, she also created a strong sense of potential in her fellow educators.

“She left no stone unturned,” McDonald said. “She saw the potential in every child.”

The Beech family has established a scholarship fund in her honor to assist future education majors from Pearl River County.

Donations for the scholarship can be sent to First National Bank of Picayune, P.O. Box 848, Picayune, MS 39466.

“Flowers are so beautiful, but they whither and die,” McDonald said. “She would be so please to know that she could continue to help people.”


About Julia Arenstam

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