SKYCTC President honors Professor Gary Beagle following his unexpected death
By Dr. Phillip Neal, SKYCTC President and CEO

Posted on September 12, 2021 6:59 PM


Dr. Phillip Neal, president and CEO of Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College, wrote this touching tribute to English Professor Gary Beagle after Mr. Beagle’s sudden and unexpected death last week. He died Thursday afternoon and Dr. Neal wrote this notification to faculty and staff that night.

This last year has brought many deeply painful moments and loss. It is with great sorrow that I must share another loss, one of our very own, Gary Beagle. His passing today was sudden, shocking us all. We don't know many details yet, but as we learn more about Gary's arrangements, we will share them with you. As numbing as his loss is for us, please remember his mother, sister, and brother. Gary loved his family dearly and spoke of them with pride. Please keep them in your prayers during this time of grief and healing. 

It is hard to put in words how we all must be feeling. Words won’t take away the pain, but they do allow us to remember and celebrate those we call friends and family. And knowing Gary, he would want us to use our words to celebrate a life well-lived. If you will indulge me, I want to share some memories that bring smiles to my face and tears to my eyes . . . I encourage all of us to do the same as we remember this remarkable individual.

Gary Beagle was such a thoughtful colleague and friend, and just a genuinely great person. As a faculty member, Gary was born to teach. Some people work hard at teaching and never master it, but he had a natural gift that started with his passion for expanding worldviews.

It was just a few weeks ago his eyes lit up in the hallway of building H as he told me how particularly excited he was to teach dual credit students. Tonight, it broke my heart to share the news of Gary’s passing with one of his former students, my son. Through the shock of our conversation, he said over the last few years dozens of Gary’s former dual credit students graduated high school and are now attending universities across the nation. But when they get together to reminisce, they often remark that Gary was one of their greatest teachers.

As a SKYCTC colleague of more than 10 years, Gary was always there for any of us. He was the first to lend a hand, and as one of our SKYCTC family members recently said, “He is the glue that held relationships together.” His can-do attitude and caring nature cannot be replaced, but we can honor him by striving to be the consummate master of our craft, like Gary was.

I will remember Gary most as an exceptionally beautiful soul. His deep commitment to diversity was not because it is the right thing to do but because he valued the brilliant talents he knew everyone possessed, even if they did not see it. Gary knew—more than anyone I ever met—that there is more to people than what you see on the outside.

His unique gift was guiding people through the exploration of thought and language to stretch and uncover passion, possibilities, and imagination within. He stood for those who could not do so themselves, and he gave voice to the voiceless. The tougher the issue, the more Gary pushed others to peel back their layers of bias and appreciate the truth. He was humanity’s champion.

Gary, we will miss you, celebrate you, and cherish the light you brought into this world. Godspeed my friend. 


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