Beakes remembered as vibrant, generous

Funeral is held for pharmacist slain in Baltimore Pharmacist eulogized as vibrant and generous

August 19, 2001|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Dr. Yvette A. Beakes - the Glen Burnie pharmacist abducted and killed on her way home from meeting friends in downtown Baltimore 11 days ago - was eulogized at her funeral yesterday not as a victim but as someone full of life.

Mourners recalled how Dr. Beakes had worked her way through college and four additional years of study to become a pharmacist. She once skated across the state of Georgia for charity. She rescued dogs from highway medians. She loved music. And she was always smiling, they said.

The 26-year-old was abducted, robbed and killed Aug. 8 - picked at random, police say, by two men and two youths, all from Baltimore, who spotted her driving to her townhouse in Anne Arundel County, followed her and, ultimately, took her back to the city.

Several hundred relatives, friends, co-workers and even strangers gathered at Francis J. Collins Funeral Home in Silver Spring to pay their last respects.

"We've come here to celebrate her life," her boyfriend, Kenneth Shipley, said during the service.

Dr. Beakes' mother, LaVerna J. Cordova, and her father, John W. Beakes, sat through the service teary-eyed. They did not formally speak, but a series of friends stood to offer their memories of her.

One of Dr. Beakes' friends who grew up with her in the Rockville area remembered how she always looked for a new adventure. Once they went on a "mission," to find a street named Beakes Court that they had seen on a map, she said. Another time, they went to find cows, she recalled - smiling over Dr. Beakes' youthful whimsies.

Dr. Beakes - an honor student who earned her doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore in Maylast year - would always win at any sort of trivia game, her friends said.

Mr. Shipley said the only thing he can ever remember her not succeeding at was snowboarding. Though she could ski well, he said, on a recent trip to Canada she wouldn't accept the fact that it's not best to learn to snowboard after a blizzard. Dr. Beakes, who stood 5 feet 2 inches tall, would end up day after day buried in 3 feet of snow, he said.

"She will be missed by those who knew her," Mr. Shipley said, "and by society as a whole."

Dr. Beakes not only served the public in her job as pharmacist, she also raised money for various charities, such as the March of Dimes.

Dr. Beakes' killing has provoked outrage, in part because Anne Arundel county emergency operators failed to notify officers of a 911 call made by a woman who was trying to alert them that Dr. Beakes was being assaulted.

Two county operators have been suspended. After a house-to-house canvassing effort by police located the unidentified caller Friday, she was interviewed.

The four males who have been charged in Dr. Beakes' murder have criminal records.

A car theft case against one of the suspects was dropped less than six months ago because a judge would not grant a postponement after Baltimore county prosecutors had failed to subpoena the victim, whose testimony was critical to the case.

"I'm so angry about this entire thing - the 911 call, the prior records, all of it," said Kim Olunloyo, a friend and colleague of Dr. Beakes'. "This should never have happened to her."

"People always say a person is nice after they have died," Ms. Olunloyo said. "But it was so true of Yvette. She was vibrant, and smart, and always just so happy."

Now her family and friends are looking to the future.

After the prayers were said, the song "Candle in the Wind" played, the Psalms recited, Mr. Shipley said, "I look forward to seeing justice served. I know that's what Yvette would have wanted."

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