July 2013 Volume 10

In Honor of an Historic Fortis – “King Kong” Beecher

Robert Kelly
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On May 2, 2013 Gladstone George “King Kong” Beecher died.  At the time of his death, Beecher was almost ninety one years old and the final survivor of the historic 1941 Sunlight Cup team. Gladstone arrived at K.C. in 1939, having previously attended Calabar Elementary School, Mico Practicing School and St. Simon’s College on a scholarship. He describes his three years spent at the College as “glorious.”

He graduated from Kingston College in December 1941 and “was at home for the whole of 1942 seeking employment.” His first job was in 1943 as a Temporary Clerk in the then Collection General Department. Three years later, he was promoted to Third Class Clerk, and three years after that was appointed an Executive Assistant to serve in the newly formed branch known as the Customs Preventive Service.  Years later, he was promoted to Executive Officer II and transferred to the Invoice Inspection Branch, then to Senior Collector of Taxes, Morant Bay.

On April 27, 1957, Gladstone married Louise Scott.  Their union produced three children, Maurice, Christine and Janice.  Maurice would become one of Kingston College’s most decorated track and field athletes.  Christine, who was a dentist based in Atlanta, Georgia died in February, 2012 and Janice, is Senior Vice President and Group Chief Financial Officer, Victoria Mutual.  He had five grand-children, Rachael, Joseph, Anna, Preston and Kelly.

In 1972, Gladstone was selected to pursue a senior management course in International Narcotics Control.  On his return from Washington D.C., he was appointed Agent for Western Jamaica, stationed in Montego Bay, responsible for monitoring both ports of entry, The Water Front and the Airports.  He “enjoyed” his stay at that office and got to work with the Police, US Embassy, and British and Canadian High Commission.  He retired in 1977 but continued to serve his country for eleven more years in the capacity of Manager at the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission.  

“Rest eternal grant to him, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him. Amen.”

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