Cover photo for Terry Robert Beachler's Obituary
Terry Robert Beachler Profile Photo
1946 Terry 2024

Terry Robert Beachler

October 19, 1946 — January 9, 2024

Peoria, Illinois


Terry Beachler, 77, longtime businessman of Peoria, Illinois, died Tuesday 9 Jan 2024 in the house he built with his brother-in-law, Jeff Zircher Sr, and where he raised his children. He passed peacefully from complications of Parkinson’s, MDS (Myelodysplastic Syndrome), and Leukemia while surrounded by those that loved him most: his wife, three adult children, and grandchildren.  He previously survived a battle with prostate cancer in 2013 when NWU in Evanston, IL performed a prostatectomy.
He was born in 1946 at OSF hospital in Peoria, IL, to Robert and Stella “Justine” (Ishmael) Beachler.  As a young boy, his mother quickly realized that Terry and his brother Donnie (1948- 2020) were too mischievous to stay home together, so in 1959 she sent little Terry to work with his father at “The Station;” better known at the time as Beachlers Standard. Beachlers was founded by his father in 1951, and after his passing in 1984, Terry assumed the reins while The Station was under the Amoco flag (Standard Oil, Amoco, BP, Shell). His passion for running The Station was so strong, that in the mid 80’s he was invited by Amoco executives in Chicago to hire on as a retail petroleum and convenience store training consultant at LJT, a group based in La Jolla, CA. Terry enjoyed traveling the United States sharing his knowledge with others and excelled at teaching and training gas station dealers the tips and tricks of the trade into the 90’s.
Terry attended Woodrow Wilson grade school and graduated from Richwoods High School in 1964, where he remained a close friend to many fellow RHS grads, and for decades was an active class leader helping plan regular reunions.  He attended Bradley University for one semester, but it turns out he was better suited to drink beer and soon flunked out. While continuing to work at Beachlers he would have an experience that would change the course of his life, in January of 1966 while skiing at Alpine Valley, WI he twisted his knee so badly that it rendered him medically ineligible for the Vietnam draft. Soon after, he enlisted in the Army Reserve in the fall of ‘66, completed his basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in the Ozarks, and would go on to be a Sergeant at the 685th Transportation Company located at the armory near Richwoods High School.  There, he lead a team of technicians to maintain Army vehicles and learned more about the automotive industry until he was honorably discharged in 1972. Meanwhile, he dove into full time work at Beachlers and married Barbara Werner of Medford, WI in 1967. It became clear that he would need to dig into the books if he were to understand the automotive business. So in 1975, he became the first ever ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) Certified Master Technician at Beachlers.  He kept up with his continuing education and remained an ASE Certified Master Technician from 1975 - 2024 while also earning multiple other certifications along the way.  
Although he was in the gasoline business, he enjoyed many activities that did not require petroleum, as he often preferred his own horse power. Orienteering is a sport of running through the woods with a map and compass to stamp your card in a prespecified order, and in July of 1987, Terry was on the cover of Orienteering North America Magazine. He was an avid runner and completed six full marathons along with multiple Steamboat 15k races. He always maintained Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN was his favorite marathon.  He became enamored with cross country skiing in the 80’s and he went on to compete and complete 10 American Birkebeiners, a 53 kilometer / 33 mile race held every February in the woods between Cable & Hayward, WI.
Terry was very active in all facets of his life. At one point, his children counted over thirty sports and hobbies in which he actively participated.  In the ‘70’s he was a member of IVS: The Illinois Valley Striders, one of the early running clubs.  He was an avid cyclist, and a member of the Illinois Valley Wheelm’n.  He encouraged his son Brett at age 13,  to join him on a “short” 400 mile trip north to Grandma’s house in Medford, WI.  He and Brett completed that trip in five days in the summer of 1984 and later had a brief story about it written in “The Observer.” Brett and his daughter, Katie, have continued this tradition with an annual charity ride. He also enjoyed “bicycles with engines.”  He and his long time friend Max Koehl rode their motorcycles (Terry had an ‘81 Gold Wing & Max a ‘99 1000cc Kawasaki Concours) in the early 2000’s from Peoria to Long Beach, WA to have lunch with Max’s mother-in-law and dip their tires in the Pacific.
Among his other hobbies, he enjoyed hiking Forest Park Nature Center, camping, paddling all types of water ways both flat & white water, the Mackinaw was one of his favorites, rowing (skulling the Illinois River), he taught himself how to sail by reading a book and owned several sailboats from the 80’s to the 2000’s, which he docked at Detweiller Marina.  
Terry was also a member of the Peoria Astronomical Society and could often be found at the Donovan Observatory on clear nights, introducing planets, moons, & nebulae to local cub/boy scout groups and the general public. He loved showing off the world’s largest scale model of the solar system to the myriad of pilgrims who came from all over to check each celestial body off of their bucket list. He was especially proud of the 4” model of Earth, which was housed at Beachlers until 2013.  
In other nerdly activities, Terry also had a license to operate his HAM radio with his handle, KC9SN. He could frequently be heard communicating with other operators in Alaska, Russia, & even China on occasion. He enjoyed participating with his fellow Sport Verein members in air gun competitions all over the midwest, even though he had the aim of a toddler at a toilet. He was known to have a dark room, as he had a penchant for all things photography. Many Peoria area participants in Susan G Komen (Richwoods ℅ 1961) Race for the Cure may have a photo he took while he dressed up like a flasher in a long trench coat (he always had shorts on underneath).  He would print doubles of each photograph, and place them inside the station the week after the charity event so participants could swing by and get their photos.  Terry’s daughter Lisa is a two time survivor of breast cancer. Many of these hobbies were buttressed by a pile of periodicals that seemed to grow in spite of how much he read.
Terry loved history and had an innate mechanical ability when it came to restoring artifacts; whether it was his Willys Korean War era Jeep, antique gas pumps, or the John Deere 1941 Model-B as a Central Illinois Farm Heritage Tractor Club member.  While working with his hands, you could also find him running various types of woods through his woodworking shop to build gifts for his wife, friends, or grandchildren.  A few of his most proud wooden creations were a Gee Bee Racer Sportster plane, a WWII era P-51 Mustang, and a large detailed Loon for his wife Barbara (the planes were for grandchildren who “flew” them with their Flintstone feet).
Terry enjoyed learning how to fly with lessons from his friend, Max. He earned his private pilot’s license in the 1970’s flying his dad’s Cessna 172.  In 1975, he became a member of the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association). For nearly 48 consecutive years, he attended their annual “fly-in,” also known as “Oshkosh,” after the city in which it is held.  He only missed one year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He flew various small aircraft over the years and most recently had a Luscombe 1946 tail dragger which he hangared at Marshall County Airport. He also learned how to fly gliders while making weekend trips to the club in Hinckley, IL.  This love of aviation and models was perfectly represented in his collection of RC Models, which he built over several decades.  He was the President of the local RC and helped negotiate the relocation of the club from Detweiller park to their home in Chillicothe.
Terry was a long time active member of the Peoria German American Central Society. He spoke “functional” German, as he took several German language classes at Illinois Central College (ICC), where he also earned several associates degrees over the years. He forged many new friendships with other Germans while traveling the country with friends from The Lindenhof. 
Terry is survived by his wife Barbara (77) and his three children, Lisa Beachler (56) of Peoria, Brett (52) (Rebecca) Beachler of Peoria, and Craig Beachler (48) of Cincinnati, OH; grandchildren Austin (Katie) Beachler of Morton, Dylan Frank of Havelock NC, Mitchell Frank of Peoria, Keegan Stewart of Milwaukee, WI, and Katie Beachler of Peoria.
Cremation rites have been accorded and his ashes will be spread in the three places that meant the most to him:  His Illinois river home, the Ishmael farm in Greenview, IL where he spent much of his youth, & the Peoria RC Modelers Club in Mossville, IL.  
PUBLIC Celebration of Life (FUN-eral) will be held:
4-7pm Saturday 10 February 2024
at the Lindenhoff (German American Central Society)
7601 N Harker DR, Peoria, IL 61615
 *Cash Bar

If you are traveling from outside the area to pay your respects, the American Inn Hotel @ 9106 N Lindbergh Dr, Peoria, IL, 61615 is reasonably priced and about 2.5 miles from the Lindenhof on 7601 N Harker DR


If you are traveling from outside the area to pay your respects, and would prefer a historic luxury hotel from Marriott in downtown Peoria, you can stay at the Pere Marquette Hotel @ 501 Main St, Peoria, IL 61602, about a 9 mile drive to the Lindenhof @ 7601 N Harker DR.

Terry’s family would like to offer a special thank-you to each person on his medical team who took great care of him along this challenging journey.  Especially Dr. John Miller, his family doctor for decades and Dr. Greg Gerstner, his hematologist / oncologist at the Illinois Cancer Center.  In lieu of flowers, we ask that you consider making a donation(s) to one of these three organizations that were near and dear to Terry’s heart. or donate a walker or runner in Terry's name or donate to a runner or rider in Terry's name.
Cards can be sent from and condolences left at
To send flowers to the family in memory of Terry Robert Beachler, please visit our flower store.
In memory of Terry Robert Beachler, please consider making a donation to one of the following charities:

Service Schedule

Past Services

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Saturday, February 10, 2024

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

German American Society

7601 N Harker Dr, Peoria, IL 61615

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