SOUTH ROXANA — In what he might have viewed as the highest compliment he could receive, South Roxana Police Chief Bob Coles described former Mayor Kenneth Beasley as “a true South Roxana resident.”
Beasley, who most, including Coles, knew as Kenny, passed away Sunday at Alton Memorial Hospital from ongoing medical issues. Beasley was 69 years old.
He had been mayor of the village for the past 16 years, previously serving as a building inspector, auxiliary police officer and board member of the South Roxana Fire Protection District. Beasley worked as a concrete finisher for the Cement Masons and Plasterers Local 90 in Troy for 30 years, and he had also co-owned a grocery store in town, Debbie’s Market.
Coles has been the chief of police for the past three years but said he’d known Beasley for more than two decades dating back to when Coles first started working for the village. In a press release following Beasley’s death, Coles expressed sympathy for the family and said Beasley “had a true passion for making this village a better place to live.”
“I always said he was for the people because … he’s been here since he was 8 years old. So, he’s lived here his whole life,” Coles said Tuesday. “He’s a true South Roxana resident — he’d come out and try to help if somebody needed help. If somebody needed a concrete pad poured at their house and they didn’t know how to do it, he’d go out and volunteer his time and help them do it. He’d come out with a rake and a level at 69 years old and help rake potholes out.
“He always did stuff for the town. People would always call him and have questions. There’s more people that spent time on his front porch talking to him than any other mayor I’ve known of.”
Coles said village hall will be closed Friday in honor of Beasley’s memorial service that evening. Tuesday’s regularly scheduled board meeting was also canceled in the wake of Beasley’s passing.
The celebration of life memorial visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday at Bethalto Church of God, 800 E. Bethalto Blvd. at the intersection of Moreland Road and Illinois 140. A service will follow at 6 p.m. Pastor Shea Hughes will officiate.
Coles said the village is still working out possible ways to honor the longtime mayor but said, “I’m sure we’ll do something for him.”