In memory of Jack Beasley, a guy you may not have noticed, but should have

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When I heard Jack died Thursday at age 86, I didn't think it was right to let him go without knowing him better.

We knew almost everything about Jerry Buss, and it was still written repeatedly. The Times produced a special section to commemorate his life.

What about Jack? What did he do with his life? Whom had he touched?

"He was a great, great man," said Jack's son, Bill, who started working USC sports events in 1973. I wonder where he got that idea.

Jack was a salesman of precious metals, growing up in Pasadena a Dodgers lover, thrilled when his son became the team's ball boy.

Jack loved music, giving his daughter Leslie her first record, Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti," and how can a daughter forget that?

He was a World War II veteran. He survived quadruple heart bypass and prostate surgery. He dealt with diabetes, but had taken to falling recently.

I just always saw him standing, eight hours each Saturday, hot, cold, rain or Mike Garrett.

"A tough son of a gun," Bill said. "He believed you reap what you sow, and then have some fun. He liked a good cigar and a shot of whiskey."

That explained it. I had lent Jack my coat on a cold night after a UCLA game and Jack looked disappointed. If I wanted to make him warm, where was the shot of whiskey?

"As you know, he had a great sense of humor," Bill said. "But when Mom passed away, a part of my dad did as well. I think he just wanted to be with her."

Jack had already suffered through the death of a sister who killed herself. One of his two grandchildren would do the same. And the day after his wife's wake, he learned Cindy, one of his two daughters, had committed suicide.

That's some paragraph. And Jack lived it, while somehow still making the day a little better for the strangers he counted as friends.

Quite a guy.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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