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Obituary: Leonard Beschel, Jean


Spokane has lost one of its biggest boosters with the passing of Jean Leonard Beschel. A lifelong resident, Jean loved the Lilac City and worked tirelessly to promote and improve it. She embraced her Catholic faith, loved her family deeply and in her death her family has lost one of our greatest teachers, supporters and influences. She will be remembered for her devotion to family; through her example we learned that love can be expressed in many ways, but is ultimately a gift of oneself through service to others.
Born at Sacred Heart Hospital to William and Alice Leonard, Jean graduated from Lewis and Clark High School and went on to major in speech and drama at Stanford University. Jean fondly remembered having leading roles at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland and the Spokane Civic Theater. She also enjoyed her involvement with the John Heath Players and of course, the Ferris PTG Ham on Regal Show.
Jean credited the Spokane Junior League for training her to be an effective volunteer. She served as the League’s President and Regional Delegate, and was later honored with the Outstanding Sustainer Award. She was passionately interested in urban planning, economic development, finance, higher education and the arts.
She was President of the Spokane City Planning Commission, Chairman of the Board at EWU on three separate occasions and on the boards of the United Way Campaign, the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture and the YWCA. Jean served on the Spokane Regional Council, the Inland Empire Regional Conference and as the Spokane Community Development Board President. She chaired the Central Business District’s Policy Advisory Committee and volunteered with its Momentum Urban Core Committee. The YWCA awarded Jean its Outstanding Achievement Award for Community Service.
Jean is survived by her husband of 58 years, Robert P. Beschel Sr., her three children and their spouses: Dr. Robert P. (Jr) and Marsi Beschel, of Alexandria, VA, William and Jan Beschel of Spokane and Jennifer and Stuart Austin of Seattle, and eight grandchildren. While deeply missed, we rejoice that Jean is now in the embrace of her Heavenly Father.
A celebration of Jean’s life will be held Wednesday, September 19th at 11am at St. Augustine Catholic Church. In lieu of flowers, donations to The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture are suggested. Please visit Jean’s online tribute and leave a condolence at Arrangements by:


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