WOOSTER – Reverend James (Jim) Edgar Bean died on January 18, 2015 at West View Manor in Wooster. He was 94.
Jim was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on November 19, 1920 to James Wilson Bean and Harriet Eleanor (Rice) Bean and was the youngest of three children. Jim s father, the senior pastor at Dayton Avenue Presbyterian Church (St. Paul, Minnesota), moved the family to Canton, Ohio in 1928, when Jim was eight years old, to become senior minister at Canton s First Presbyterian Church (now known as Christ Presbyterian Church). Jim s happy boyhood was filled with baseball and softball, boy scouts, violin lessons and orchestra concerts, and swimming, canoeing, and fishing on Lake Hubert in Minnesota.
In 1938, Jim followed his sister and brother to The College of Wooster, graduating with a degree in sociology in 1942. During his time at Wooster, he was a member of the Scot baseball team, Second Section (Kappa Phi Sigma), Head Waiter at Holden Hall, and president of his class both freshman and junior years. After graduating from The College of Wooster, he continued his studies at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, graduating with a divinity degree in 1945. It was during his years in New York that Jim met Sarah (Sally) Graham, a Columbia University nursing student from Williamsport, Pennsylvania. They were married on September 19, 1944 and were together for seventy years. They had four children: Jim (Gisela), Mark (Veronique), Kathy, and John (Courtney).
The Presbytery of Wooster ordained Jim on May 21, 1945. His first pastoral position was at The First Presbyterian Church of New Rochelle (New York) where he was an assistant. When the senior minister died, Jim stepped in and led the congregation of 800 with no assistants. Having been a dedicated conscientious objector during World War II, Jim felt that it was vital to serve his church and his country by participating in the rebuilding of Europe. In 1946 Jim and Sally began a lifelong relationship with the country of France when they were appointed fraternal workers with CIMADE, a French Protestant organization working with post war reconstruction and providing relief to people displaced from their homes and communities by World War II. Based in Boulogne-sur-Mer, Jim and Sally worked with teens and young adults. They established a recreation center where young people could meet and begin healing from their devastating experiences.
In 1949-50, Jim and Sally returned to the United States and Jim worked with The Board of National Missions co-pastoring the Kaufman-Van Zandt Presbyterian Parish in East Texas.
Jim and Sally were reappointed fraternal workers to France and served from 1950 to 1964. They served a dual assignment to Le College Cevenol (a school dedicated to the principles of pacifism and mutual understanding of all people) and the local French Reformed parish in the south-central mountain town of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, which had led the movement to successfully hide Jews from Nazis and the collaborationist Vichy government. Le Chambon-sur-Lignon was honored as Righteous Among The Nations by Israel for this endeavor. Throughout the years in France, Jim s many responsibilities included teaching, coaching, and serving as an administrator and as chaplain. To further develop his coaching skills, while on a 1956 furlough, he earned an advanced degree in physical education at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City.
In 1964, a new phase of life began for Jim when he and Sally returned with their children to the United States and settled in Wooster. Jim joined the faculty at The College of Wooster as a member of the French Department. He also served in the departments of Religious Studies and Physical Education. In 1966, Jim took over as head cross country coach and held that position for the next 20 years. He also coached track and field from 1975 to 1984. And in 1975 Jim completed a master s degree in French at Kent State University. Jim was a strong believer in the power of a positive mental attitude and encouraged his runners and students to use optimism and positivity in their lives. The PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) Award for College of Wooster runners is awarded annually in his honor. Jim officially retired from teaching/coaching in 1987, but continued as a volunteer assistant cross-country coach for fifteen more years. He himself was an avid runner and ran every day into his eighties. He was known for often stopping to pick up trash and deposit it in the nearest receptacle. He was inducted into The College of Wooster W Association Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990.
Starting with his return to Wooster, Jim remained active as an ordained Presbyterian minister for more than four decades. In 1965, he answered Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. s call to clergy from around the nation and joined the Voting Rights Campaign march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. He served as supply preacher and/or interim minister in many local pulpits including Presbyterian congregations in Creston, Dalton, Fredericksburg, Lexington, Millersburg, Shreve, Wayne, and Wooster to name a few. Jim officiated at the marriages of hundreds of couples, including many former College of Wooster students. He and Sally were members of First Presbyterian Church of Wooster and for many years sang in the choir.
In his retirement years, Jim served for two years as pastor in the Protestant Reformed Church of Le Locle, Switzerland, lead service work camps from First Presbyterian Church to Switzerland, tutored Wooster High School students in French in preparation for the International Baccalaureate, and volunteered at The Viola Startzman Free Clinic (Wooster).
Jim loved people and had deep friendships with people on practically every continent! Treasure Island on Lake Vermilion in northern Minnesota held a special tender place in his heart. Jim, an accomplished violinist, loved playing favorite tunes on his violin, taking pictures with his innumerable cameras and eating everything Sally cooked for him, remarking how it tasted Delicious!
In addition to his wife, Sally, and their four children, Jim is survived by grandchildren Yann, Leo, Noah, Sophie and Natalie, nieces Donna, Ann, Barbra, Margo and Barbara Jean, and nephews Michael and Paul.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents and siblings Elizabeth (Betty) and Robert (Bob).
A service and reception in his honor will take place on Saturday, February 28, 2015, 2:30PM at The First Presbyterian Church, 621 College Avenue, in Wooster, Ohio.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Jim s honor to the Viola Startzman Free Clinic (Wooster) or People to People Ministries of Wooster.
McIntire, Bradham & Sleek Funeral Home, 216 E. Larwill St., Wooster assisted the family.
Viola Startzman Free Clinic in Wooster or People to People Ministries of Wooster.
A service and reception in his honor will take place on Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 621 College Ave., Wooster