William Nicholas Beachy

Beachy photo

William Nicholas Beachy died on July 22, 2022, completing a long life of service to God and others. He was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho, on May 15th,1923, to William Johnson Beachy and Gwendolyn Nicholas Beachy. William (“Bill”) spent his childhood in a number of states, including Idaho, Nebraska, Missouri, Arizona, and Texas.  After his father’s death in 1930, he went to live with his cousins, Jay and Esther Belle Beachy. While living with them in San Antonio, Texas, he attended Thomas Jefferson High School and enrolled at the University of Texas.  During this time, he enjoyed performing in stage productions of Shakespeare and playing his trombone in the marching band for the Texas Longhorns.

Before his college years were over, Bill signed up for the army. The army sent him to medical school, and he graduated with his MD from Louisiana State University School of Medicine. While in Louisiana, he met and married his wife, Catherine Ditchburn.  The young couple spent his one-year internship at Letterman Hospital in San Francisco and then a three-year residency in internal medicine at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.  Dr.Beachy had been sensing a strong call to the priesthood for a number of years, and in 1953 he responded to this call, attending Berkeley Episcopal Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut.

His first assignment as a newly-minted Episcopal priest was to be the vicar of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Monett, Missouri, where he served from 1956 to 1960.  During these years, Bill and Catherine made life-long friends, as they would in many places they lived and traveled.  Next, he went to be the chaplain at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, where he had served as a doctor.  He remained in this position until his retirement in 1987.  During his long ministry at St. Luke’s, Chaplain Beachy also became involved in the ministry of healing through prayer.  He was a member of the Order of St. Luke and served as its North American Warden from 1984 to 1989.  He traveled to many places to share this healing ministry through public speaking and prayer, including Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.  After his retirement, Father Beachy “supplied” his services into his 90s when churches needed a priest on a particular Sunday, and in the summers took the 8 o’clock am service at the Church of the Redeemer in Rosseau, Ontario. He also continued to provide counseling services into his early 90s.

With his family, “Bill/Dad” enjoyed both levity and poignancy. Grace before meals was often sung by the family, particularly the extended family.  The meal was accompanied by many of his humorous stories, spoonerisms, puns, and robust laughter. Playing the trombone also continued past Bill’s 90th birthday, particularly his renderings of Auld Lang Syne on the front steps at New Year’s.  He enjoyed reading aloud to his family, especially from the writings of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein.  Both laughter and tears were always encouraged.

 William Nicholas Beachy was beloved by many during a long life filled with love and generosity.  Preceding him in death were his parents, William and Gwendolyn Beachy; his stepfather, James Bone; step-parents, Jay and Esther Belle Beachy; siblings, Ray Beachy, Irene Radford, and Morris Beachy; son-in-law, Charles Overfelt; and grandson, Alexander Beachy. Surviving him and cherishing his memory are his wife, Catherine; children, Catherine Carroll (Peter) of Crystal Lake, IL; William D. Beachy (Kathryn) of New Orleans; and Nancy Lacy (William) of Kansas City.  Also surviving him are five grandchildren, David Carroll, Diana Carroll, Nicholas Beachy, Catie Overfelt Brouse, Elizabeth Lacy, and four great-grandchildren.


The memorial service will be Monday, August 8 at 7:00 pm at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 11 E. 40th Street, Kansas City, MO. 

Memorial Contributions

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 11 E. 40th St., Kansas City, MO, 64111 or (for those in Canada) to Church of the Redeemer, Rosseau, Ontario, Canada, P0C 1J0.











  1. Lynne on August 4, 2022 at 9:19 pm

    Rev. Bill will be missed at Church of the Redeemer. The entire Beachy family is very loved by the Redeemer family but Rev. Bill contributed with his 8am services as well as his enjoyable, engaging and very interesting Bible Studies. He will be missed and with a heavy heart we say RIP Dear Bill and we thank you for your Love and many words of wisdom through the years.
    Blessings to you all at this difficult time. We look forward to seeing the family as they are able.
    Much Love
    Your Friends from Church of the Redeemer
    Rosseau Ontario

  2. Judy Odonnell on August 4, 2022 at 12:38 pm

    Pleasure know Chaplain Beachy during my school days at St Luke’s. We attended chapel. Then working at St Luke’s for several years! Truly a Godly man!

  3. The Rev. Susan Creighton on August 4, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    I just saw Dr. Beachy’s obituary on the list of Episcopal Clergy. I can only rejoice at his entrance into life eternal. In the early 1970’s, I heard him speak at two or three conferences of the Order of St. Luke, held at Annie Wright School in Tacoma, Washington. Being the daughter of an MD myself, and during a time of my own deepening faith in Christ, his teaching had a profound effect upon me. In 1976, I entered the Episcopal seminary, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and was subsequently ordained deacon and priest (1981), My vocation led me through testing a vocation to the religious life, and later serving as a parish priest and campus ministry, always with a focus on the contemplative life. In 2004, I finally found my true niche when taking vows of Silence, Solitude, and Simplicity as an Anchorite of the (Episcopal) Diocese of Olympia. My prayers for Bill will be offered with joy and gratitude for his long and faithful service in the ministry of healing, both as medical doctor and priest.

  4. Marc Giedinghagen on August 4, 2022 at 10:40 am

    The healthy Spiritual Wellness Department and Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program at Saint Luke’s Health System is a tribute to Bill’s legacy. Bill established and sustained the department and program over the years thanks to his skills, devotion and calling to ministry and chaplaincy. Thank you also to Bill and Catherine for providing your Kansas City home as a place to call home for our summer CPE intern students. My prayers and heart go out to you and your family and friends.

  5. Liz Rasner on August 3, 2022 at 6:28 pm

    Dear Catherine,
    What a lovely tribute to a man I wish I had known! Robert, Mitchell and I send our
    condolences to you and all of those who loved him. Safe travels for all. Love Liz Rasner

  6. Ron Beachy on August 3, 2022 at 5:26 pm

    This is an excellent tribute to the life of my uncle, William Beachy. He was a kind and gentle soul and had a clever wit. I admired his poetry and complex pun related stories – an “Anthology of Prose” comes to mind. Did not know he’d earned a place in the Longhorn marching band – one of the best in the country at the time.

    I shared his admiration for the works of C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkien. In fact, he sent me Tolkien’s seminal book, “The Hobbit” for my 9th birthday. He followed that up with one book of The Lord of the Rings trilogy for my next three birthdays.

    I loved those books and still have them on my bookshelf. I’ve read them many times and studied Tolkien’s appendices and family trees. I was quite pleased with Peter Jackson’s adaptation of both the Lord of the Rings and its prequel The Hobbit. It wasn’t perfect (I wasn’t happy he omitted the chapter The Scouring of the Shire) but it was an excellent job.

    While I didn’t seem him often, Uncle Bill was an important figure in my life. As a young lad, my favorite visits were to the family’s cabin on the shores of Lake Rosseau in Ontario. Their traditions and family humor were delightful. As an adult I was pleased to be able to take my children to Lake Rosseau several times. Those visits were the precursor to Maureen and my Family Camp tradition which began in 2007. The photo below is of our Family Camp 2022 in New Hampshire. It was to be a record 18 Campers, but Covid limited us to twelve.

    Our thanks to Uncle Bill and his family for showing us the great benefits and strengths of extended family fellowship. His was a life of valuable service, and I hope to see him and all my loved ones in the afterlife. I know for sure that he is there now watching over us.

  7. Russ Sifers on August 3, 2022 at 4:43 pm

    Bill was a true gift from God. I was blessed to have shared some time with him over many years.

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