Beard family starts community fund


GREENVILLE — J. Michael “Mike” Beard was a long-time Greenville resident and employee of the Darke County Highway Department who passed away in September 2013. He left behind a rich legacy of devotion, honesty, and love, inspiring his family to create the J. Michael Beard Community Fund at the Darke County Foundation.

The endowment fund will provide annual grants to local non-profit organizations that support spiritual/church-related activities, outdoor recreation, and arts/cultural experiences.

“We wanted to create opportunities that foster curiosity, reverence and gratitude,” said Beard’s daughter, Michelle Stephenson of Houston, Ohio.

Beard’s wife, Barbara, and his son, John, and family, live in the Greenville area.

“Dad was so fond of being outdoors, particularly at county or state parks, where he enjoyed hiking, fishing from the family boat, and camping,” said John. “Dad dedicated himself to his family, friends, and church, and he gave generously to those in need and to his community.”

The first grants from the J. Michael Beard Community Fund will be awarded this spring to Garden Club of Ohio, Darke County Park District, and Greenville City Park. Each year the family will decide which organizations they would like to support in honor of their father and husband.

The Darke County Foundation is pleased to help the Beard family carry on a legacy that will touch the lives of local residents for years to come. The foundation receives, administers and distributes charitable gifts for the benefit of area residents. For more information, visit or call 548-4673.

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