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Longtime Riverside trustee, library namesake Lucile Beaver dies at 94
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Lucile Beaver

Gainesville native Lucile Elizabeth Beaver, 94, a life member of the Riverside Military Academy Board of Trustees, died peacefully on Tuesday, Dec. 15. 

She was a trusted adviser and confidant to her father, Gen. Sandy Beaver, president of Riverside for 57 years, according to an obituary sent by the military academy.

“Lucile never lost her love and appreciation for RMA and its mission as a college preparatory school for young men,” Col. Staś Preczewski, president of Riverside, said in a statement. “Her father trusted her insight, and alumni who knew them both say they were very similar in their intellect and business acumen.”

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Beaver was born Feb. 1, 1926, in Gainesville, the fifth child of Sandy and Annice Lowery Beaver. “The campus was her playground,” according to her obituary from RMA. When the cadets reported to the former RMA campus in Hollywood, Florida, for the winter semester, she traveled with her parents to Florida and attended classes with the cadets.

After graduating from Gainesville High School as valedictorian, she attended Agnes Scott College. She graduated with a degree in math and continued her education at the University of Georgia, earning a master’s degree in math. She then earned a master’s from Columbia University’s School of Library Service, which launched her career as a librarian, first at RMA and eventually for the Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C.

After graduating from Columbia, she returned to RMA to be the librarian and serve as the academy’s hostess. She spent five years in those positions.

One alumnus, Seth Wagner of McHenry, Illinois, said he had fond memories of his time with Beaver while at RMA from 1952 to 1956, and again as an adult many years later. 

“Lucile was one of those genuine persons who, whenever you saw her, she greeted you like she saw you just yesterday,” Wagner said in a statement. 

In 1954, Beaver accepted a civilian position with the U.S. Army in Europe as a librarian for the Army Special Services. In 1959, she transferred from Germany to Washington D.C. to work on the overseas recruiting team of Army Special Services and was responsible for recruiting all librarians for overseas positions, according to her obituary.  

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Riverside Military Academy's Lucile Beaver Library - photo by Scott Rogers

In 1963, she began work as a reference librarian for the Federal Aviation Agency.  She eventually was named chief of the Department of Transportation Library. In 1976, she was promoted to the position of director of the DOT Library. She retired from that position in March of 1982, and, at that time, she was one of very few women serving in the federal government at her level.

She was an active member of The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C., for over 50 years and served as the volunteer librarian for the church’s choir. 

She traveled to Gainesville for RMA board meetings for many years. In 2013 the RMA library was named in her honor, The Lucile Beaver Library.

The dates for a memorial service at The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church and her burial in the Beaver family plot in Alta Vista Cemetery in Gainesville are yet to be determined.