William Henry Beatty, III (“Henry” in his early life but later “Bill” to his Texas acquaintances), recently of El Lago, Texas, passed away peacefully at the age of 81 on July 15, 2016 in Kyle after a five year decline due to progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). A private memorial for the family will be held in Austin in August.
Henry was born on January 7, 1935 - along with his twin, Douglas Nellis - in Birmingham, Alabama, to William Henry Beatty, Jr, and Doris Gladys Nellis Beatty. As a boy and young man, Henry enjoyed building model boats, playing football and flirting with girls. He was always outgoing, hard-working, smart and displayed leadership qualities, too, becoming Alabama’s high school junior representative to the Civil Air Patrol congressional dinner in Washington, D.C. He went up to Vanderbilt University to study electrical engineering on a Naval ROTC scholarship. There, he met the very lovely and brainy Anna Ernestine Jackson of Atlanta, Georgia.
After graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1957, Henry served in the Navy as Gunnery Officer on the destroyer USS Dashiell, including a cruise through the Mediterranean and the Red Sea on the way to Karachi, Pakistan. During his service, he and Anna married on July 2, 1958 in Atlanta. After he fulfilled his Navy service in 1960, Henry went to work for Westinghouse Electric Company as a Design Engineer, initially training near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and later earning his professional engineering license. That same year he and Anna welcomed their first baby, Frances Gladys, and then settled in Baltimore, Maryland. For the 1961 Berlin Crisis, Henry was recalled to active service as a lieutenant for a year-long tour on the destroyer escort USS Roberts. Little Fran got a new sister, Susan Ernestine, in 1963 and another, Caroline Croom, in 1965.
In 1968, Henry landed a job as Lead Engineer at Lockheed in Houston, Texas, to work along with NASA’s Johnson Space Center. And so the family made their new home in El Lago. His work with Lockheed and NASA would span 33 years, developing myriad space payload systems and eventually leading the entire Lockheed Martin team there as Program Development Director.
At home in the meantime, Henry was always building or fixing something. His 1954 TR-2 sports car always needed work and he eventually rebuilt the whole thing. He also assembled the family’s first color TV and constructed a model of the USS Constitution, with all of its knotted rigging and tiny cannons. In the community, he served with the Jaycees, becoming its chapter president in 1970.
When Henry left Maryland, he had to leave behind his and Doug’s sailboat, “Hold Fast.” But El Lago is close to Galveston Bay and before long he joined its sailing community. He crewed for others for many years – both cruising and racing – and helped out with maintenance. The Galveston Bay Sail and Power Squadron honed his sailing skills and he became a teacher there, too, for Piloting, Navigation and more. Once the girls were done with college, Henry finally got his own boat to captain, “Rope Yarn Sunday,” which he later upgraded to a 40-footer, “Pangloss.” He won a lot of trophies on the Galveston Bay Cruising Association’s racing circuit, whether he was racing his own boat or crewing for others. He raced on the Gulf of Mexico as well, sailing from Galveston to Biloxi, Mississippi, or to Veracruz, Mexico. Three times he cruised straight across to Florida. After retiring from Lockheed Martin, Henry became a licensed U.S. Merchant Marine Officer and continued to pass on his love of sailing through teaching at the Texas A&M University-Galveston Maritime Academy.
Henry is survived by his wife Anna Beatty now living in New Braunfels, Texas; their three daughters and their spouses: Fran Beatty and Roger Goddard of Eureka, California; Susan and Emil Kramer of Davenport, Iowa; and Caroline Beatty and Jana Galloway of San Marcos, Texas; his brother and sister-in-law, Doug and Patti Beatty of Arlington, Virginia, and their children: Lissa Beatty (and her husband Steve Tyrrel and their two sons), Julie Beatty (and her husband Michael Dillow and their son), and Doug Beatty, Jr.
The family extends their special thanks to Kindred Hospice and the staff at Legend Oaks, who took wonderful care of Henry during these last months.
Memorial donations may be made to CurePSP, 30 E. Padonia Road, Suite 201, Timonium, MD 21093, www.psp.org.