Anyone that had the pleasure of meeting Daniel Beachy knew that he was a man who lived a life of service to the church and to his community. MCC benefited greatly from his time, talent and dedication over his 97 years of life. To say he had an impact on MCC’s work in the Michiana area would be an understatement.
When the Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale began in 1968, Daniel and his wife Viola, both of whom grew up in the Old Order Amish Church, committed themselves to helping it get off the ground. They then continued volunteering tirelessly for the next 43 years, each year helping the sale expand and raise money for MCC.
“Dan had a passion for missions,” says Viola. “He was very much interested in helping MCC. I can assure you that he thoroughly enjoyed it, too.”
As Beachy describes in his book Home Alone at Thirteen, in the late 1970s he was part of a group that wanted to take the goodwill created at the relief sales and do more to help suffering people. Beachy served as treasurer for the ad hoc group as they developed a constitution and initiated a 100-ton corn drive for Somalia and Sudan.
The constitution was ratified at a convention in Bluffton, Ohio, in November 1981, and the result was the creation of the Great Lakes Region of MCC. When the need arose for the first director of the newly formed regional office, Beachy was the first to come to mind. He was hired to the quarter-time position while continuing to work for Miller Brothers Builders.
The following year, Beachy represented MCC on a trip to Somalia and Southern Sudan to follow up on the shipment of corn. “When he came home from that trip, he was all in for MCC,” said Viola.
In his second year as director, Beachy’s time increased to half-time and by the third year he was employed full-time as director for MCC Great Lakes. In 1988, he retired from his role after five and a half years and handed over the reigns of leadership to Bruce and Helen Glick.
Beachy went on to serve for 14 years as the manager of The Depot in Goshen, Indiana, created to raise money for MCC and housing an MCC Thrift Shop, MCC Material Resources Center and the MCC Great Lakes office (once it moved back to Indiana) in addition to renting space to other businesses and organizations over the years.
According to Ben Shirk, chair of The Depot Board, Beachy was instrumental in the Depot from the first meetings through the planning and purchase. “Dan was faithful in doing what he could to make the world a better place, and MCC and The Depot were his method of making a difference,” said Shirk. “Dan was appreciated for his graciousness in relationships and for a work ethic that kept him at The Depot many hours beyond his required duties.”
The job of facilities manager was not one that Beachy took lightly. You could often find him doing whatever needed to be done, big or small, to keep things running smoothly. “With 62,000 square feet and much of the roof quite old, roof leaks were an ongoing challenge,” remembers Shirk. “Even in his older years Dan would climb the ladder and work on the leaks in order to save MCC money that could go to help others.”
Once he retired, Beachy remained connected in other ways. He was an avid volunteer with the MCC meat canning in the Goshen area for over 40 years. He spent hours cutting meat that would be shipped by MCC all over the world.
“He even went to cut meat when he was hardly able,” remembers Viola. “Sometimes I told him that he shouldn’t stay very long. But the way Dan was, he didn’t care about his tiredness.”
In many different capacities and roles, Beachy found ways to support MCC throughout his lifetime, and he leaves behind a legacy of service and dedication.
Shirk said, “Dan is remembered with fondness for his flexibility with a growing business, his willingness to work with people to accomplish the task, and above all for his gentleness in all relationships.”
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