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Mildred Marie "Millie" Beard

August 11, 1933 — February 26, 2022


Mildred “Millie” Marie Shaffer Beard, 88, of Dallas and previously of Abilene, passed away Saturday, February 26, 2022, in Dallas. She was born August 11, 1933, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to John Isaac Shaffer and Alta Cate Shaffer.


Graveside services will be held at 2:00 PM on Tuesday, March 1, at Elliott-Hamil Garden of Memories, 5701 US Hwy 277 South. Services are under the direction of The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road.


Millie grew up in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where her grandparents settled after immigrating in the mid-19th century from Germany through east Tennessee to Washington, County, Arkansas, near Fayetteville.


She received a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, with a major in organ studies. She studied organ under Kenneth Osborne, with short pedagogical seminars under E. Power Biggs. She was a member of Sigma Alpha Iota, National Music Fraternity. She played trumpet in the Razorback Marching Band at the University of Arkansas. One summer in college, Millie served as an organist on a Baptist Student Union Revival team traveling the state of Arkansas. For several years, she volunteered at the Veterans Hospital in Fayetteville, providing entertainment for hospitalized veterans.


Millie married Winston C. Beard on June 25, 1954, in Fayetteville. She taught several years of elementary school. She was teaching in 1958 when Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus ordered all Little Rock public schools closed for a year rather than allow integration to continue. She taught elementary school in Arkansas and Illinois before her sons were born.


In 1959, their son Jon was born, followed by Kevin in 1961. Her husband Winston’s career as college professor and administrator directed the family to live in Austin and Waco, Texas; Little Rock and Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and eventually, Abilene, Texas, where he was hired as the Dean of the School of Economics and Finance at Hardin-Simmons University in 1979. Prior to his death in 1997, Winston served as President of the Hendrick Foundation for Hendrick Medical Center of Abilene.


Her activities included volunteering at a Home for Unwed Mothers while living in Little Rock, Arkansas; Officer in the Newcomers club at the University of Texas – Austin, when her husband was a member of the faculty there.


She was a member of the First Baptist Church, Abilene, Texas, since moving here in 1979. Other church activities over the years included teaching Sunday School, singing in the church choir, and serving as organist at several churches. She was an accomplished musician in early years.


In 1980, Millie became Assistant Director of Tri-College Continuing Education, a consortium of Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene Christian University and McMurry University. She also served as a member of Abilene Women’s Club, Garden Gate Club, Fairway Oaks Country Club YWCA Enhancers, and the Red Hat Society in Abilene.


Her late husband, Dr. Winston C. Beard, Dean of the School of Economics and Finance at Hardin-Simmons University (1979 – 1983); President of Hendrick Foundation for the Hendrick Medical Center of Abilene for the last 12 years of his life. He served as elected delegate to the 1978 Constitutional Convention for Arkansas while Chair of the Department of Business at Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas (1977 – 1979).


Millie is survived by sons, Jon of Huxley, Iowa, and Kevin of Dallas, Texas; four grandchildren, Kyle (Megan) of Dallas, Texas, Lauren of Madison, Wisconsin; Andrea (Tanner) Vaughan, of Dallas, Texas, and Marshall Beard of Dallas, Texas; and daughters in law, Caryl and Lynne.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of your choice.