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Lt. Col. Nelson L. Beard, 67, Air Force fighter pilot

May 2, 1951 – Jan. 11, 2019

Nelson L. Beard, of Youngstown, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who logged more than 2,000 hours as a fighter pilot, died Jan. 11 in Niagara Hospice House, Lockport. He was 67.

Born in Tyrone, Pa., he attended Pennsylvania State University on a full ROTC scholarship, graduating with a major in Middle Eastern studies. He later earned a master’s degree from the University of Southern California.

Commissioned in the Air Force, he took navigator training at Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento, Calif., then went to George Air Force Base in Victorville, Calif., for training on the F-4 Phantom jet fighter. He went on to fly the F-4 for 17 years.

Deployed to Hahn Air Force Base in Germany, he was part of the initial group that set up a flying exercise with the Iranian Air Force in Tehran.

He later attended flight weapons school at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and worked with the Egyptian Air Force in Cairo. After a tour at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, he was assigned as the Air Force adviser to the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. He finished his 23-year career at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.

He was promoted to major in 1984 and became a lieutenant colonel in 1989.

After he retired in 1996, Lt. Col. Beard worked for defense contractors.

For five years, he was a government contractor with Cubic Corp. in South Korea, where it operates the Korea Battle Simulation Center. He then worked in Washington, D.C., for Strategic Technologies Institute and in Buffalo for Veridian, which later became part of General Dynamics. After several years, he was promoted to General Dynamics’ site manager in Buffalo.

He was a consultant on several books and articles about aviation, including the 2004 book “The New Face of War: Air Strike.” He also helped edit local historian Suzanne Simon Dietz’s biography of Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk, who flew on the plane that bombed Hiroshima.

Survivors include his wife of 45 years, the former Margaret Seiver; a daughter, Madeleine; a sister, Martha Jane Hopkins; and several nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, in St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, Second and Hinman streets, Youngstown.

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