Robert A. Beavers, a retired Toledo police officer who was known to give a break to a suspect but come down hard on those who deserved the punishment, died Thursday in Ebeid Hospice Residence in Sylvania, where he was being treated for a failing kidney.
Mr. Beavers, 79, was born on Sept. 11, 1934, in Baileysville, W.Va., to Delbert and Maxine Williams.
He graduated from high school in Pineville, W.Va., in 1953, married Grace Langermann, and left for Toledo with his new bride “to get away from the coal mines and seek other employment,” said his son Bart.
He served in the Army stateside between 1957 and 1959, then joined the National Guard and was discharged as a first lieutenant, his son said.
He studied law enforcement at the University of Toledo and joined the Toledo Police Department.
He hadn’t finished the police academy when, in 1963, while on lunch break, he collared his first criminal: A clerk in a downtown cigar store who accepted a bet on a basketball game. “He just worked in an era when Toledo was a wide-open city [for crime],” his son said.
One of his biggest accomplishments occurred in the late ’60s when he got a tip about a large heroin shipment on a train headed to Toledo’s Union Station, Bart Beavers recalled. He coordinated the police seizure, which his son said was one of the largest in the nation at the time.
Retired iron worker Bob Nickles said he had several encounters with Officer Beavers before they became friends.
“He was going to arrest me a couple of times, but he gave me some breaks,” Mr. Nickles said. “Then we became friends. It was a great relationship.”
“If it was something serious, he would fight to the man,” Mr. Nickles said. “If it was something light, Bob was a very forgiving man.”
Mr. Beavers served his 25 years on the department in two stints: In 1972, while working with the morals squad and the drug unit, he and a partner, James Van Deilen, resigned to form a private investigation agency that concentrated on drug intelligence.
“It was a short-lived business venture,” his son said.
He rejoined the department, retiring as a detective in 1988.
He golfed and fished and took golf outings with fellow officers. He was a member of the Toledo Police Retiree Association.
He was married three times, and each wife, Grace (Langermann) Beavers, Jeanne (Wilson) Beavers, and Joanne (Cook) Beavers, preceded him in death, as did a brother, Charles Bartley Beavers.
He is survived by his sons, Bart, Keith, and Scott Beavers, and Lou and John Langermann; daughters Susan Marcinkowski and Cathy Szymanski, 15 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
His funeral is at 2 p.m. today at Reeb Funeral Home, 5712 N. Main St., Sylvania.
Memorials are suggested to the Old Newsboys Goodfellow Association or Ebeid Hospice Residence.
Contact Jim Sielicki at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6050.