Dennis Anthony Beam, Jr., age 81, died Monday, June 26, 2017 at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Born in Cleveland County on May 15, 1936, he was the son of the late Dennis Anthony and Mildred McCraw Beam. Dennis was a devout Christian and life member of First Baptist Church. He was a sixth generation member of the John Teeter Beam family, which is a founding family of Cleveland County and served many years as President of the Beam Family Reunion. Dennis graduated from Shelby High School in 1954 and from UNC Chapel Hill in 1958 where he was a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity and after graduation he served in the NC Air National Guard. Dennis is credited for making Shelby nationally known in both the Electrical Utility and Tree Care Industries. Beginning in 1960, Dennis and his brother-in-law, Bob LaVene, formed SafetyTest and Equipment Company. Following the success of this company, Dennis founded Wood/Chuck Chipper Corporation, Aerial Devices Inc. and Temp~Vent Corporation, and served as President of all these companies. As the driving force behind these companies, he was an inventor and held many patents for the products that these companies produced. One of his projects of pride and notable successes was becoming one of the founders and board members of Carolina State Bank, which continues as Fifth Third Bank. Dennis's passions include, automobile collecting, flying, snow skiing, traveling, and of course, Carolina Basketball. An early expression of these passions, Dennis received his pilot license at the age of 14, and began flying back and forth to the beach. Dennis spent his teenage summer years at Crescent Beach, where he worked as a lifeguard. During this time he realized his love for dancing and learned to shag. He was a co-founder of the SOS, Society of Stranders, and was one of the first inductees into the Beach Shaggers Hall of Fame. Dennis was a member of the Shelby Masonic Lodge #744 AF&AM, a Shriner in the Oasis Shrine Temple in Charlotte and a former member of the Shelby Rotary Club.
In addition to his parents, Dennis is preceded in death by a sister, Betty Beam LaVene and brother-in-law, Robert "Bob" LaVene.
Dennis is survived by his three children, Dennis Beam III and wife Mary Bowles Beam, Laura Beam and Drew Beam and wife Tonya Whitley Beam all of Shelby; four grandson, Dennis Beam IV, Morgan Beam, Miles Beam and Whit Beam; caregiver and companion, Frances Wright of Shelby; friend and former wife, Harriette Beam of Shelby; niece, Denise Buchanan of Charlotte; and nephew, Rob LaVene of Shelby.
Funeral service will be held at 2:00pm on Thursday, June 29, 2017 at Shelby Presbyterian Church with Dr. Luke Harkey officiating. The family will receive friends following the service in Ellis Hall. Private burial will be held at Sunset Cemetery with Masonic Rites.
The Beam family wishes to express their gratitude and appreciation to the Dickson Heart Unit at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte for all the compassion and care that Dennis received during his stay.
Memorials can be made to: American Heart Association, 128 S. Tryon St., #1588, Charlotte, NC 28202 or American Diabetes Association, 1300 Baxter St., #150, Charlotte, NC 28204.
Online condolences may be made at www.cecilmburtonfunerlhome.com.
Cecil M. Burton Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the family of Mr. Beam.