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  • Writer's pictureLawrence Lore

Beasley's Chevrolet

J O Beasley owned and operated Beasley’s Chevrolet Sales and Service at the north edge of Sumner for nearly 51 years.  In September 1977 he celebrated his long-time business operation with an open house and was cited by General Motors Corporation officials as the oldest franchised Chevrolet dealer in central Illinois ---47 years under the same name and dealership location.

July 15, 1978, Mr. Beasley relinquished his Chevrolet dealership and sold his used car and automobile repair business to Jack Umfleet, retiring from the one-man business began on Labor Day in 1927 and built into an operation with nine employees. 

The 76-year-old resident of Sumner, Mr. Beasley was killed instantly in a car train collision at the Christy Avenue crossing of the Baltimore & Ohio Rr in Summer. (November 28 1978) According to witnesses Beasley was driving his 1978 Chevrolet northward and the car was struck by the B&O freight train travelling westward.

According to the Lawrence County coroner there appeared to be no medical reason such as a heart attack or a stroke that prevented Beasley from stopping at the railroad crossing.  Eyewitnesses said that Beasley appeared not to have looked in either direction before crossing the tracks.  No indication was found that death occurred before the time of the collision.

(Editor's Note: Mr Beasley's 31-year old daughter Katie Jo Beasley Stanley was also killed in a car accident July 7, 1967. She graduated from Sumner Grade School and High School. )

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