Trucking Industry ‘Legend’ and WWII Survivor Passes Away at 100
St. Libory, IL – A former trucker and current CEO of an Illinois-based trucking company passed away last week at age 100.
Frank Beelman, Jr. was the CEO of Beelman Truck Company, an 800+ truck fleet located in East St. Louis, IL and the son of its founder, Frank Beelman, Sr.
Frank Jr. departed this life on Wednesday, August 4… about thee months shy of his 101st birthday.
According to his obituary, Frank Jr. “went to work every day” and “guided the company with exceptional integrity and ethics.”
Frank Sr. started Beelman Truck Co. in 1906 by hauling coal and ice in St. Louis, MO with two teams of horse-drawn wagons, according to the company’s website.
As the company grew, it started hauling produce and limestone, and eventually garbage from area restaurants in order to feed hogs.
According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Beelman Truck Co. now employs 856 drivers and owns 719 power units and has 12 locations in the U.S.
Born on November 20, 1920, Frank Jr. began working for his father “as soon as he was old enough to wield a shovel and reach the truck pedals.”
According to the company, Frank Jr. started driving in 1934 at the age 14 and worked until he joined the Army in 1942 with the onset of World War II.
He fought at Omaha Beach on D-Day and in the Battle of the Bulge, according to his family.
As such, Frank Jr. was one of the last living survivors of two of the deadliest battles of WWII.
After serving in WWII, Frank Jr. returned home to Illinois in 1945, where he once again worked as a trucker, hauling limestone, rock and coal in the new truck he purchased.
He married his wife, Kay, on July 1, 1943 and the two were blessed with four children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Kay and Frank Jr. worked side-by-side at Beelman Truck Co. for the next 50 years.
She passed on December 4, 2010.
His family said Frank Jr. will be remembered as “a role model for many throughout his life and an incredible family man,” as well as a “legend in the trucking industry.”
He was buried on Monday with military honors at the St. Liborius Cemetery.