Jane Catherine Pearson Beeman

Honored by:Her Family
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Jane Catherine (Pearson) Beeman's devotion to her family, friends, and hundreds of students with disabilities over the years shows why she deserves a spot in ISU’s Plaza of Heroines.

Jane was born in Ames, IA on July 20, 1958, the first child of Phillip and Mary Jane (Barlow) Pearson, both of whom are Iowa State graduates. Mary Jane graduated in 1954 with a major in mathematics and minors in statistics and education. Phillip, who served as ISU's Dean of Veterinary Medicine for 17 years, earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from ISU in 1956 and a Ph.D. in Veterinary Pathology in 1962. The ISU connection extends back to Jane's maternal grandparents, Dorothy Dannatt Barlow Farr who attended ISU from 1926 to 1929 and Henry Wallace Barlow who graduated with honors in chemistry in 1926.

Jane graduated from Ames High School in 1976. In 1980 she graduated with distinction from Iowa State with majors in Child Development and Elementary Education. Her honors included Phi Eta Sigma, Alpha Lambda Delta Omicron Nu, and Phi Kappa Phi. In 1981 she married Perry Alan Beeman, a 1981 graduate of ISU in journalism and mass communication who became a long-time reporter for The Des Moines Register. They have two sons, Scott, who married Sheryl Bergeron in 2005, and Joel, who in 2007 announced his engagement to marry Jamie Ingram.

Jane's siblings and their spouses are: Bryan (Kim); Todd (Bethanne); and Julie (Joel Utterback).

The Christian upbringing that solidified Jane’s church activity began at Bethesda Lutheran Church where she was married. After moving to West Des Moines, she joined the West Des Moines United Methodist Church where she has been active in coordinating liturgists, serving communion, teaching Sunday School, working on missions programs, and serving as president of the preschool board.

Many admirers note that Jane has remained active and a full-time teacher even though she is managing the symptoms of two autoimmune diseases, lupus and fibromyalgia. She continues to be quick with a smile and focused much more on other people than on herself.

Jane worked as program specialist at Woodward State Hospital-School from 1980-82 before teaching classes for preschoolers with disabilities at Willson-Beardshear in Ames from 1982 to l984. She then joined the Des Moines school district where she has taught similar classes at a number of schools.

Over the years she has pursued many activities as well. Jane took many years of piano lessons. In high school she joined the chorus and also played string bass in the orchestra. She took gymnastics lessons from then-ISU Coach Ed Gagnier and taught in his private gymnastics program for years. She was active in the Bethesda Lutheran Church Council, was a sponsor for the youth group there, and also served five years as a board member at Beloit, a nonprofit organization that helps disadvantaged youths in Ames.

Much of her time, of course, has been devoted to raising two sons and supporting them as they entered adulthood. Scott and Joel both are strong students. Scott and his wife Sheryl (Bergeron) both have bachelor’s degrees from Dordt College in Sioux Center, Ia. At this writing Scott is in his second year of studies at ISU’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Sheryl works for an Ames public relations firm. Joel earned an associates degree at Des Moines Area Community College and in 2007 was studying at Columbia College in Chicago where he met Jamie. Scott and Joel are graduates of Valley High School in West Des Moines; Sheryl was in the Valley band while she was home-schooled. Joel, who competed in gymnastics, hockey, and soccer, earlier wrestled at Valley and was an on-air personality on the school radio station. Joel briefly studied drums, piano, and violin before learning to play guitar and performing in bands outside of school. Scott, who also competed in soccer and gymnastics, followed his mother’s footsteps by studying piano all the way through school. He also was an all-state cellist and a top percussionist at Valley where Sheryl played trombone. Jamie is an accomplished barista and culinary arts student who grew up on a ranch in Idaho.

Jane was supermom as the kids grew up, balancing their many activities while teaching them life lessons about budgeting time and money, respecting people, studying hard, reading voraciously, and keeping a good work ethic. For these reasons and many others, the family of Jane Catherine (Pearson) Beeman is proud to include her in the Plaza of Heroines.

12/31/07 update