This week, we present a husband and wife team in our "interesting People" feature. They are Diane and Bobby Beecham, who since 1972 have been ministering to the people at First Pentecostal Church on Natchez Trace Drive here. In addition to her work with the church, being a devoted wife, mother and grandmother, Diane finds some way to teach in their new school which is also on Natchez Trace Drive next door to the church. The new school, which is called Lexington Christian Academy, is under the Accelerated Christian Education College with h eadquarters in Texas. In preparation for the school which opened three years ago. Pastor Beecham and his son, Danny attended school in Texas. Diane has taken special training for her position.

Danny Beecham is serving as principal and is assisted by his mother and by Kay Wilson in the kindergarten department. All grades are taught - K through 12 - with each child working at his own level. There are 45 students in attendance this year. Diane's day starts at 6 am., and often goes on until 11 at night. In addition to the church work Bro. Beecham serves as jail chaplain and also each Sunday at 9 a.m. goes to The Turning Point (in the Conger Clinic building) to minister to its students. Rev. Otis Jones, retired Pentecostal minister, assists Diane in the Nursing Home ministry at this hour visiting both NuCare and Lexington Manor. At 10 a.m. all report back to the church.

Not only do the Beechams minister to the welfare of their church members, but also do a great deal of visiting in the h ospital. Diane finds it relaxing to carry her crocheting with her as she visits some elderly friend who is ill. She says her life has centered around the church and she always loved people; she especially enjoys her community and church related ministries. Her two brothers are preachers and she used to say she wanted to marry a preacher; but when they married 27 years ago in June of 1962, Bobby was operating a paint business in Parsons. He soon changed.

Diane as born in Decatur County a daughter of Mrs. Ola Mays Graves and the late Otis Graves. She is the baby in the family of 10, 6 of whom are still living. Her father died in 1978 and her mother lives alone at the age of 87. Bobby was born in Henderson County. His parents were j.W. and Roby Jones Beecham. He is the fifth child in a family of 12, all of whom are living. The family meets twice a year for the family reunions. His mother passed away in 1973 and his father in 1980. Bobby was raised near Huron, but lived in Chicago from the age of 16 til he was 22, then moved to Finley where he was living when he and Diane met. They were married at the Iron Hill Pentecostal Church near Parsons. They lived in Dyersburg, for a few months before moving to Parsons. After Bobby accepted his call to the ministry, the first church he pastored was the Iron Hill Church where Diane had attended since the church was built when she was 6 years old. This church is in the community where she was raised.

Bobby has pastored for 25 years. The churches have been Iron Hill in 1964, 1966 and when Diane's brother was killed in an accident in 1966, they went to Nashville to pastor his church. While there they built the new church he had planned then returned to Parsons in 1968. After working with a country church for a short while, they felt called to Home Missions, so they moved to Morristown in 1970. They left thee in December of 1972 and came to Lexington. They love it here. Diane began singing in the church at the age of 2, her sister Anita Baker, who was 9, played the piano for her. She says her love of singing was handed down from both parents. After a long hard day, the family relaxation would be sitting on the front porch and singing before going to bed. At the age of 87, her mother still loves to sing when her children visit with her. Diane's sister Jean Young, is a music teacher, another sister, Katherine Coffman, plays the organ and piano; her brother, Billy sings. One sister, Sylvia Gurley, prefers other types of church work to singing. All are active church workers.

The Beechams have five sons of whom they are justly proud. David, a former pupil of mines, lives with his wife, Bonnie and their two daughters on Natchez Trace Drive just across from the church which he serves as youth pastor. Danny and his wife, June have a little daughter and son. He is principal of their schoo, Lexington Christian Academy. He graduated from Lambuth College and wants to get his degree in psychology, perhaps from Wheaton College. This is his daughters first year to attend school and she goes with Diane to Kindergarten. Duane and his wife, Angie live here where he works at Helms Motor Co. Terry is still at home and works for Young Radiator. Todd, the youngest is in their school and works parttime at Swan Hose.

As if Diane and Bobby didn't have enough to do, they have bought a country home, a peach farm, about five miles from Town, just past Stringtown, on the odl Petty Rd. It was formerly owned by Glen Stewart who now lives in Florida. Danny and his wife were already living on the farm. Bobby and Diane have built a house and moved in during August. This has not been a good for peaches with its late Spring cold snap, but in a good season, they will be "picking peaches" from 800 trees and be busier than ever. In addition they have plum and apple trees in their backyard. It must be nature's playground as there have been friendly squirrels, a ground hog and at least two deer which have come out to play. We wonder how Bobby will find time to indulge in his favorite hobby - not hunting or fishing - but driving a tractor and bush hog machine.

Lexington Progress - "Interesting People" Septembe r6, 1989

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