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J. Glenn Beall, Jr. was born in Cumberland on June 19, 1927, he attended public schools until acceptance at the Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. A member of the class of 1945, his graduation was accelerated so that he could enlist in the U.S. Navy and serve in World War II. He completed officer training, was commissioned an ensign, and eventually rose to the rank of commander in the Naval Reserve. Upon his honorable discharge from the Navy he attended Yale University. He graduated as a member of the class of 1950 with a degree in economics. While at Yale he was active in the Political Union, the Young Republicans, played varsity lacrosse, and ran a snack bar business.
After college he returned to Frostburg and assumed responsibility for his father's independent insurance agency in Western Maryland. That agency ultimately became Beall, Garner, Screen and Geare, then known as BGS & G. Under his leadership the firm grew from a small insurance company with three local offices and eighteen associates to one of the largest privately owned insurance agencies in the United States with eleven offices in Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, and nearly 200 employees. Shortly after the senator's retirement from the firm, it was purchased by the CBIZ insurance conglomerate.
The senator began his public legislative service in 1962 when he was elected as a Republican to the Maryland House of Delegates. He was the Minority Floor Leader until 1969 when he went to Congress as representative of the 6th District of Maryland in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1970 he was elected to the United States Senate and served there until 1977. Committee assignments included Budget, Commerce, Labor & Public Welfare, and the Select Committee on Aging. He introduced the Physician Manpower Shortage Program as a means of encouraging medical personnel to serve in areas of the country underserved by the profession. He was responsible for the first historic tax credit legislation that encouraged the preservation of antiquities through financial incentives. He helped secure federal and state funding used to construct U.S. Interstate 68, the highway connecting the western regions of the state to the more populated eastern regions. In 1978 he was the Republican nominee for Governor. His selection of Dr. Aris T. Allen, an African American, as his Lieutenant Governor, was unprecedented in the history of Maryland state politics.
During his lifetime Senator Beall was active in a variety of local fraternal, civic, and charitable organizations. He was a past Master of Mountain Lodge #99, A.F. & A.M., the Royal Order of Jesters #117, the Farrady Post #24 of the American Legion, the Frostburg Lodge #470 Elks, the Frostburg Moose Lodge, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, was a past Potentate of the Ali Ghan Temple, and was a member of the prestigious 33rd Degree Scottish Rite. One of his favorite charities was The League for Crippled Children of which he served as the president and chairman of the board from 1978 until the time of his death.
After leaving public office, he served in numerous public and private organizations. He was vice-chairman of the White House Conference on Aging in 1981. He served as chairman of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. He was chairman of the board of WM Bancorp, a director of Keystone Financial Corporation in Harrisburg, Pa., a member of the Maryland Higher Education Commission, a trustee of Maryland State Colleges and Universities, a trustee of the Maryland Historical Trust and chairman of the board of trustees of the Maryland Hospital Association.
He served as a member of the board of directors of the Camp David Chapel Fund an organization which was responsible for construction of a chapel at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md. He was chairman of the C & O Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority from the time of this organization's inception in 1992 until December of 2005 when he resigned for health reasons. He was very active in the United States Association of Former Members of Congress, serving on its board of directors and as president. He and Nancy traveled extensively with the group, visiting China, Japan, S.E. Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.
Of most recent importance to the Senator was the J. Glenn Beall Institute for Public Affairs at Frostburg State University, which he helped establish and fund. This entity was established for the purpose of promoting a spirit of civic responsibility and an increased knowledge of government affairs and the political process at all levels. It provides funds for student internships at the U.S. Senate in Washington, campus political science programs, and community affairs in general. Daughter, Victoria, and brother, George Beall, serve on the Institute's Board of Advisors.
Following retirement, the senator and Nancy spent the winter months in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was an avid golfer and enjoyed memberships at the Cumberland, Maplehurst, and Fort Lauderdale Country Clubs. A summer highlight was the 4th of July Beall family reunion held initially at the Commander Hotel in Ocean City, and later at the Bedford Springs Hotel in Bedford, Pa., and the Homestead in Hot Springs, Va. During stays at the Homestead, he particularly enjoyed teaming up with brother, George, in the yearly and highly competitive golf match against the opposing team of brother, Dick, and son-in-law, Roy. He was a life-long parishioner and past vestryman at St. John's Episcopal Church in Frostburg.