A miles-long procession of Colorado law enforcement and first-responder vehicles honoring slain Arvada Police officer Gordon Beesley followed his hearse to Foothills Community Church in Lafayette on Tuesday
Colleagues, family, friends and community members at the memorial service remembered Beesley as a humble, kind man who didn’t fit the profile of a stereotypical police officer.
“Twenty years ago, our friendship began,” said Arvada Police Sergeant Brian Thome. “Gordon came bebopping in the locker room wearing high-top Chuck Taylor’s, short shorts, tie-dye shirt and a little hop and a step a little bit different than everybody else.”
Beesley, who worked as a school resource officer at Oberon Middle School, was remembered as having a close relationship with teachers, faculty and students.
One colleague said he kept a foot pedal and bass drum at his desk at the school, and played Christmas songs for students during the holidays.
“Officer Beesley was more than just that officer who watched kids play while his hands were resting on his belt. He became a kid again, running around and playing games with everyone,” said former Oberon student Amanda Gelow.
Beesley’s sister, Mandy, recalled his love of drums. She said his passion for music stemmed from their childhood, when their parents — who moved to the United States from England — introduced them to music.
She said their mother, a flight attendant, shared her love of rock’n’roll with Beesley. Some nights, their father, a chemical engineer for Exxon, would break out a box of instruments and invite the whole family to play.
“There was a set of bongos, symbols, rhythm sticks, a triangle and a woodblock. He'd hand out the instrument, put some jazzy Calypso music on the record player. And we would all play along,” Mandy said.
Beesley, the youngest of three siblings, started playing the drums when he was 8 years old.
“By the time he was in high school, he was playing with friends and bands. Gordon's most infamous high school group was a punk band, The Grinch Mob, who honed their sound in our family's garage,” Mandy said. “Their favorite song to play was 20 seconds long and was dedicated to the glories of Schmidt's beer.”
Beesley is survived by his wife, Karen, and their two sons, who did not speak at the ceremony. However, his sister spoke about his fatherly and husbandly pride.
“His happiest years began once he met Karen and with the arrival of his remarkable boys, he was the proudest father in the world,” Mandy said. “I mean it, he was so very proud of you guys. And he loved to talk my ear off about the wonderful young men you were becoming. And I was always so happy to hear of how joyous the life of my joyous brother had turned out.”
CPR reporter Claire Cleveland contributed to this report.
You are one of the CPR readers who wants to know what is really going on these days. We can help you keep up - The Lookout is a free, daily email newsletter with news and happenings from all over Colorado. Sign up here and we will see you in the morning!