Julia Dianne Beekman

January 26,1959 to February 14, 2018 

Of Des Moines, Iowa - Julia Dianne Beekman, age 59, died the evening of February 14, 2018 at her home after a day spent with her children and granddaughter. 

Julia was born in Des Moines on January 26, 1959 to Bill and Nancy (Meline) Beekman. Julia's time growing up was spent in both the Des Moines area and Northern Arkansas. At Rogers High School in Arkansas, Julia enjoyed art, theater and literature, and went on to attend the University of Arkansas where she studied journalism. During this time she also spent several months teaching English in Guatemala. 

In 1982 Julia married Jim Baehr in Des Moines. They were married for 16 years and had two children. While raising her family Julia worked as a pre-school teacher and freelance artist. More importantly, she captured her children's imaginations by reading them classic books, taking them on bike rides in Waterworks Park, and telling goofy stories with shadow puppets in the evenings. 

In 1995 Julia became the first female officer in the Clive Police Department, pursuing an ambition that had been with her since her college journalism days. "I just want to help," is how she often explained it. During her 19-year career Julia especially enjoyed bike patrol on Greenbelt trails and serving a term as detective. She was also a voracious enthusiast for audiobooks in her squad car, exhausting the collections of several Des Moines libraries. 

In 2015, a year after retirement, Julia was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Although the disease can often progress rapidly, Julia patiently and cheerfully underwent treatment for two and a half years, in which time she attended both her son's wedding and the birth of her first grandchild. Julia's strength drew upon her faith in God and her quiet yet passionate love for her family. 

In death Julia joins her mother Nancy, her grandparents, Bob & Lola Meline and her Aunt Ruth (John) Gaskell. She is survived by her father, Bill, siblings Jeff (Bev) Beekman, Cindy (Mark) Irwin, Chris (Debbie) Beekman, children Luke (Joelle) Baehr, Hilary (Colyn) Burbank and her granddaughter, Nell. Near to her also were her Meline uncles Chuck (Judy), Aaron (Jane), and Tim (Chriss) Meline, cousins, as well lifelong friend Diana Calhoun and the Bizimana family. 

A memorial service for Julia is planned for Friday, March 2 at 5 pm at the Ding Darling Shelter in Birdland Park: 2100 Saylor Rd. Des Moines, 50313.

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