ART OF DESIGN: Reserve native’s talent shaped look of Olympic medals, Avon

Published 12:15 am Saturday, June 24, 2017

RESERVE — The ring Hank Aaron received when he broke Babe Ruth’s homerun record, several Olympic medals and the 500 ring in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum were all cut by Reserve native Milton W. Beadle while he was a die cutter at Herff Jones.

Beadle, who was born in 1927 and died just before his 72nd birthday, left numerous works of art and countless memories for his brother, Daniel.

“I had wonderful times with my brothers and sisters,” Daniel said of his experience growing up with six brothers and five sisters.

All the brothers were in the armed forces, including Milton, who served during the Korean War.

One of the many paintings by Milton Beadle.

While in Indianapolis, escorting the body of a soldier killed during the war, Milton met Willa Mae, the sister of the deceased.

He was back in Reserve for only a few weeks when he told Daniel that he was moving to Indianapolis to marry Willa Mae.

“I told him that he’d hate it and he wouldn’t like the weather,” Daniel said.

Milton called Daniel soon after his move to say that he loved not only the weather, but the sledding, skiing and skating.

In addition to working for Herff Jones, Milton also designed items for Avon, a fact Daniel discovered accidentally.

“I was at a garage sale in Indiana and picked up a soap container that I liked,” Daniel said. “The lady selling it said that it was designed by a local man, Milton Beadle. I asked Milton about it and he said, ‘It’s just something I do as a sideline.’”

Whether as a job or hobby, creativity flows freely through the Beadle family.

One brother, Dudley, constructs models of historic buildings in St. John Parish. Sisters Myrtle and Ruby were ceramists and painters, and Daniel has built furniture.

“I built a few pieces,” Daniel said. “But my son Charlie builds beautiful furniture.”

Daniel said that he and his siblings were encouraged by their father, who moved to Reserve when Leon Godchaux hired him to head up the carpentry and plumbing department at Godchaux Sugars.

“My dad told us, ‘There’s nothing you can’t do. If you see a need, sit down, think about it, and figure it out,’” Daniel said.

— By Ronny Michel