James “Jim” Harlan Beswick, 88, died July 8, 2021, in Carrolton, Texas, from complications of dementia, surrounded by his family.

He was born June 26, 1933, in Sterling, Illinois, to Raymond and Marie Beswick, a longtime farming family of Morrison. 

He graduated in 1952 from Morrison Community High School, where he participated in a number of athletics, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois in 1977. 

He married his high school sweetheart, Sally Lee Petersen, in 1954. They were married for 67 years. 

Mr. Beswick was drafted into the U.S. Navy and served from 1955 to 1957 as a battery specialist on the USS Hancock, which toured Korean and Japanese waters shortly after the Korean War.

Following his service, he and his wife relocated to Boulder, where he attended the University of Colorado. 

The couple decided to make Salida their home in 1978 after working the family farm in the Midwest. 

Mr. Beswick enjoyed the sports participation of children James Jr. and Jamie Lee at Salida High School. He also assisted his son-in-law, James Hood, hay their ranch in Westcliffe.

Mr. Beswick worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service in Salida as a field engineer, working with local ranchers. 

He transferred to Denver in 1988 and worked as hydrologist for the Colorado Snow Survey District, maintaining snow survey sites in five Western states. He retired in 2000.

Mr. Beswick’s passion was working on his Alpine “diesel pusher” motor home and traveling extensively with his wife for the next 19 years throughout the country, visiting many National Hot Rod Association tracks and RV spots in Arizona and Texas. 

His highlight was attending the Indy 500 and meeting Roger Penske in his garage at the track. 

Family and friends said Mr. Beswick was known for his “can do” attitude and dancing skills as “one of the last good dancers of his generation.”

Seldom indoors, he maintained an active lifestyle, moving from Colorado to Arizona and ultimately to Flower Mound, Texas. 

Mr. Beswick was a member of the Elks Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Alpine Motor Home Association.

His family said he was the family rock, and his magnetic smile will be missed by many.

Survivors include his wife; children, Frankie Marie Beswick Hood of Morrison, Colorado, James Harlan Beswick Jr. of Conroe, Texas, and Jamie Lee Norman of Flower Mound, Texas; and grandchildren, Alexandra (Norman) Bumpass, Addison Lee Norman and Austin James Norman.

Memorial donations may be made to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation. 

His ashes will be dispersed throughout Colorado, with the remainder placed at the family gravesite at Grove Hill Cemetery in Morrison, Illinois.

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