Influential Waterloo attorney, W. Louis Beecher, dies at age 90 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Influential Waterloo attorney, W. Louis Beecher, dies at age 90


W. Louis Beecher, one of the Cedar Valley's most influential leaders and philanthropists for decades, has died at Cedar Valley Hospice in Waterloo at age 90.

Beecher's son, Michael, says his father passed away at about 7 pm Monday night, following a long illness.

For decades, Louis Beecher has been Senior Partner for the well known Waterloo law firm Beecher, Field, Walker, Morris, Hoffman and Johnson, P.C. Founded in 1918, the firm was originally called McCoy and Beecher.

Following World War II, the young American pilot and University of Iowa law school graduate from Elma, Iowa, joined the firm in 1947 to practice law with his Uncle, William L. Beecher. They changed the name to Beecher and Beecher.

For more than sixty years, Louis Beecher would have a major impact on the Cedar Valley, as someone whose passion and generosity would make the Cedar Valley a better place.

One of his first significant and lasting efforts occurred in the early 1950's. Beecher played a key role in helping R.J. McElroy and the Black Hawk Broadcasting Company win the all-important license from the Federal Communications Commission for a Waterloo television station to go on the air in 1953. That television station was KWWL-TV.  

Following the death of R.J. McElroy, Beecher won a key legal battle for the R.J. McElroy estate to create the R.J. McElroy Trust, now one of the largest trusts in Iowa.

He served as legal counselor for numerous major projects in the Cedar Valley, including projects for John Deere, the Waterloo Municipal Airport and the Crossroads Shopping Center development. In addition, he personally helped countless individuals over the years, and helped ease Waterloo racial tensions as a mediator in the late 60's and early 70's.

Until his health began to fail him, Louis loved to work out every morning in the wellness facility at Covenant Medical Center. Recently, he had been living in an assisted living facility in Des Moines, but came back to Waterloo to live out his final few days at the Cedar Valley Hospice, to be nearer his daughters and other family members and friends.

Louis Beecher was U.S. Air Force transport pilot during World War II, flying dangerous missions over the Himalayas in the China-Burma war theater. His flight group lost 3,600 men and 575 planes during World War II. While the missions as a transport pilot left Louis with serious hearing loss in one of his ears, Beecher never forgot he was among the lucky ones to come back home alive.

He told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier for its 8 Over 80 Awards that being a war survivor motivated him and his colleagues to do something with their lives when they got back home from the war.

He told The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, "I think they all came home knowing we can turn our attention to things having to deal with your lifetime, and they had very little difficulty getting motivated, doing things for themselves, their families, their communities. It worked like a charm."  

Louis Beecher lived life to the fullest and was always generous with his time and money. He loved Cadillac's, cigars, the law and storytelling. He loved his family, and in particular, the love of his life, his beloved wife, Gert, who preceded him in death a few years ago. 

Louis Beecher's visitation will be from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. Friday at St. Edward's Catholic Church in Waterloo. His funeral will be at St. Edward's on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

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