Robert McKinley Beavers Jr., McDonald’s First African American Senior Executive and Board Member, Passes Away
Beavers Holdings LLC is deeply saddened to report that Robert M. Beavers Jr., 71, long-time McDonald’s officer, board member, McDonald’s supplier and entrepreneur, passed away on Tuesday, August 18, 2015.
Bob, as he was known to friends and family, had been on a vacation trip in China with his wife of 50+ years, Josephine Beavers, when he suddenly and unexpectedly died. Mr. Beavers, the beloved son of the late Dr. Robert M. Beavers and Geraldine D. Goldthwaite, was founder and Chief Executive of Beavers Holdings LLC, and majority owner of the six operating companies including Best Harvest Bakeries, Best Croutons, Best Diamond Plastics, Best Diamond Packaging, Best Chicago Meat Company, and Beavers Real Estate.
“Mr. Beavers started his career as a $1-an-hour crew person at McDonald’s while a student at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He was soon offered a position at McDonald’s headquarters in 1968, and moved to New York to open more than 150 McDonald’s in the northeast. He later became regional Vice President in Washington, D.C. and returned to McDonald’s headquarters as Senior Vice President.
Mr. Beavers served as the first African American member of McDonald’s Board of Directors from 1982 to 1999. In 2000, Bob retired and became a valued supplier to the restaurants after participating in a leveraged buyout of Fresh Start Bakeries, a multi-national supplier to McDonald’s on four continents. He later divested his position in Fresh Start Bakeries, and, with a former McDonald’s executive as his partner, acquired sole ownership of one of the Fresh Start divisions in Kansas City, now known as Best Harvest Bakeries, one of the five operating entities under the Beavers Holdings umbrella.
Mr. Beavers’ abiding love for his wife and family was the primary focus of his life. In fact, in September 2014, he and Josephine celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with family and friends in Maui.
All of his children are involved in his companies and he took pride in working with them and keeping the family together and close. He and Josephine enjoyed traveling, especially to
far-reaching and unique destinations, as their trip to China illustrated.
Mr. Beavers is listed in “Who’s Who in Black America,” was featured in Black Enterprise Magazine’s “25 Hottest Black Managers In Corporate America” issue, gracing the cover in 1988, and received a Distinguished Service Award for community involvement from his alma mater, Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, where he served on the Board of Trustees. The mayors of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore have both awarded Mr. Beavers mayoral citations.
He served on the board of directors at NICOR, Inc., a power and energy company in the Midwest, and on the board of Blue Cross Blue Shield (PPFSC). Mr. Beavers was also a Director of United Community Bancshares, Inc.
Bob was involved in many philanthropic and community organizations such as the Chicago Zoological Society, the Boy Scouts of America, Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Hinsdale Hospital, and Junior Achievement. He was a member of the Loyola University Chicago Board of Trustees, seated board member of Washington & Jefferson College, and was a visiting trustee for Howard University’s School of Business.
Mr. Beavers lived in Oak Brook, Illinois and was an active member at Butterfield Country Club. He is survived by his wife Josephine; his four grown children, Robert III (Vivian Limosnero, partner), Monica (Martin Kember), Dionne (Jerome Francis) and Brandon (Erin Beavers), all of whom are involved in multiple areas of the family businesses; his six grandchildren, Max, Bobby IV, Milakale, Jayden, Jaxon and Ashley; his sister, Diane Lewis; his sister-in-law, Michelle Hadeed; his mother-in-law, Laura Brewer; and many adoring nieces, nephews and cousins.
Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, August 28 in the Madonna della Strada Chapel at Loyola University Chicago, Lake Shore Campus. The parking garage entrance is at West Sheridan and Kenmore. A reception will follow at Piper Hall adjacent to the Chapel.
A Celebration of Life Event will be held at 6 p.m., Monday August 31 in the Prairie Ballroom at the Hyatt Lodge in Oak Brook, Illinois.
About Beavers Holdings: With more than $100 million in revenue, Beavers Holdings is a world-class family of manufacturing, food service, and logistics all committed to quality, integrity, and outstanding service.