• News
In Memoriam: Retired Upper School Director Joe Beasley
Joe Beasley sitting at his desk in a photo from 1990

Retired Upper School Director Joseph H. Beasley died on Feb. 11, 2023, at Croasdaile Retirement Village in Durham, North Carolina. 

Beasley grew up in Randleman, North Carolina, and received degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University. He served as a Chaplain in the Army during the Korean War and in Vietnam. He attended the University of Chicago and taught at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, in the 1970s. After retiring from the Army, he earned his Ph.D.

Beasley served as Upper School Director at Ravenscroft from 1980 until 1990. He also taught Advanced Placement European History — much to the delight of students. In a tribute in the 1990 Corvus, written upon his retirement as director, the student editors wrote:

A lot of changes have occurred during his term here, but under his direction, the Upper School has maintained its sense of community and its respect for each individual. As an AP European History teacher, many students have gotten the opportunity to enjoy a class with him and benefit from his knowledge and sense of humor. When he leaves his position, Dr. Beasley will not be forgotten, but remembered as a wonderful director, teacher and friend.

Beasley remained on the faculty at Ravenscroft until 1992. He continued to nurture his connections with Ravenscroft colleagues, friends and students over the years, even sending this humorous update to the Faculty and Staff Notes of the Winter 2011 Ravenscroft Magazine:

After retiring from Ravenscroft, I spent three to four years as a serf in my wife’s manor, until I began to teach AP European History at East Chapel Hill High School, part-time. This lasted until last year; but now, at age 81, I am back on the street. The problem with having nothing to do is you never know when you are done.

Beasley was an avid golfer and dedicated baseball fan. His favorite team was the New York Yankees, as was the case with many other members of the Academy. In the 1970s, George Steinbrenner usually brought the team to play Army on the day before the season began. 

His family shared in his obituary, “There are many people whose lives were enriched by his guidance and friendship. A complete listing of the many accolades and achievements that he received throughout his long and distinguished career in both the military and academia would be long. However, he expressed a desire to have an obituary that was short and to the point.”

He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Ann; their son, Byron H. Beasley; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.