Cover photo for William Nelson Beverly's Obituary
William Nelson Beverly Profile Photo

William Nelson Beverly

July 29, 1942 — May 22, 2020

William Nelson Beverly

William N. Beverly III passed away Friday, May 22, 2020, in Kalamazoo. Bill was born in Fort Worth, Texas on July 29, 1942, son of William N. Beverly Jr. and Jane-Anne Vaupel Beverly. He is survived by wife Martha Staples Beverly of Kalamazoo; one sister, Lisa Beverly Fitzpatrick of Watervliet, Michigan; two sons, Bill Beverly of Hyattsville, Maryland, and Tom Beverly of Ypsilanti, Michigan; daughter-in-law Deborah Ager and granddaughter Olive Beverly of Hyattsville, Maryland; nephew John Fitzpatrick of Oakland, California, and niece Katy Fitzpatrick of London, England. He grew up in Fort Worth and Waco and in Watervliet, where his family moved to assume ownership of the Beverly Lumber Company after William Beverly Sr.’s death in 1953. He attended Watervliet High School, where he sang in the Troubadours and lettered in football, baseball, and basketball, graduating in 1960. He matriculated at Kalamazoo College, during which he studied in Muenster, West Germany. He was a proud Sherwood, Sigma Rho Sigma. After graduating in 1964, he earned a master’s degree in audiovisual media, mostly photography, under mentor Dave Curl. He met Martha Staples at Kalamazoo College. They married in 1965 and celebrated their 55th anniversary in March. Bill taught in the Kalamazoo Public Schools for 37 years – primarily German, but also English, Spanish, introduction to languages, social studies, history, photography – at South Junior High School from 1965 to 1985 and Kalamazoo Central High School until he retired in 2002. He was much loved by students and colleagues, and his teaching and mentoring was lifelong: recently he’d returned to teaching German to Osher Lifelong Learning (OLLI) students in Kalamazoo. He enjoyed spending time with his granddaughter Olive, teaching her to take pictures, photographing her soccer matches, playing board and word games, and showing her around the Gilmore Car Museum. Bill was known for his amiability, his understated humor, and the rigor and curiosity with which he threw himself into a wide range of hobbies and interests. He read widely on European and Civil War history, languages and etymology. He and Martha were regulars at theatre events in Kalamazoo and Stratford, Ontario; they also enjoyed live music, especially the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, Fontana, and Kalamazoo Symphony. He kept multiple cameras and a darkroom, then transitioned to digital photography and restoration. As his sons played soccer in AYSO and for Kalamazoo Central, he coached and refereed. He kept a large garden and studied and cooked recipes from around the world. His skills making pizza, learned from early years moonlighting at Pizza King, and pies, learned from his mother, were unrivaled. He roasted his own coffee, enjoyed local beer, and reconditioned antique cast iron and gave it away to family and friends. He began learning Morse code amateur radio in the 1980s and by the 1990s had raised a 64-foot antenna rig above the family garage on Pinehurst Boulevard so he could talk to ham radio operators around the world. And he followed his mother’s White Sox and his father’s Bears until the end. He and his family traveled North America, from birdwatching at Point Pelee, Ontario to the Maritime provinces, the Pacific Coast, the high Southwest and the deep South. With Martha, he voyaged abroad with Road Scholar programs to Italy, Germany, Austria, China, Cuba, Spain, France, and more. And he was a marvelous storyteller. He loved the spectrum of American folk music. Since 1997 he and Martha sang and hosted Sacred Harp shape note music singings, traveling throughout the USA and to points abroad. He was known for leading “Granville” and “Poland,” especially the second verse, and for the rhubarb pies he brought to singings all over the Midwest. His life was full and his friends were many. When it came time for him to go, he declared that he was ready. When it is safe to gather once more, we will call his friends and family together to celebrate his life and reconnect his many communities. Hold him in your heart and stay in touch. “Carry on,” as he would say. While visiting William's webpage at please sign the guestbook by lighting a candle, and/or sharing a memory with the family. The family is being assisted by the Avink Funeral Home & Cremation Society, 129 S. Grand Schoolcraft, MI 49087 (269-679-5622).

A reunion open house of Bill’s family and friends, colleagues, students, neighbors, soccer parents, and others will take place on Saturday, August 6,2022 at the Clubhouse behind Friendship Village, 4309 Persianwood Drive, Kalamazoo MI 49006 from 2 to 5 pm. Bring your contact info to share with others, homemade business cards, to keep in touch with others. Please be vaccinated and boosted and do not attend if you are feeling ill that day.  



To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William Nelson Beverly, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Reunion, Open House

Saturday, August 6, 2022

2:00 - 5:00 pm (Eastern time)

Please be vaccinated and boosted and do not attend if you are feeling ill that day.

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