It doesn’t take long to be around Dave and Beulah
Mead before you realize you’re with two people who have
a deep passion for God, for people, and for life.
When you are talking with them, it’s clear that they
are interested in what you are saying and are interested
in you as a person. They revel in serving others and having
their children and grandchildren nearby.
Dave is the pastor at Grace Christian Church on
Chappel Dam Rd., Gladwin. Both he and Beulah work
for Gladwin Community Schools, where David drives
a bus and Beulah is a bus monitor for special needs
The Meads recently welcomed me to their home for
coffee and conversation. Dave was unable to be present
the entire time, but he was able to do some sharing.
GCR: Both of you have been in Gladwin for a long
time. Did you grow up here?
DM: I was born and raised here. I’ve lived her my
entire life, except for five or six years when I was studying
to be a pastor.
BM: My family moved here when I was eleven. I’ve
been here ever since, except when Dave was studying.
GCR: So, somewhere along the way the two of you
BM: When I was in 10th grade and Dave was in the
9th, we met in Spanish class. I knew of him, but didn’t
really know him. One day in class I heard him ask a
girl if she’d like to go to Bible study with him on Monday
evening. She said ‘I’m not going to a stupid Bible
study’! I felt so sad for Dave because she was so mean
to him. So I asked if he’d like me to go – and I did.
GCR: Good for you! Was this a first date?
BM: No! If anyone would’ve said we’d get married, we
would’ve said “ha”!
GCR: So… what happened?
BM: I kept going to Bible study and grew to know the
Lord. I didn’t doubt my salvation. Dave and I were best
friends for about two years. We did everything together.
We really enjoyed roller skating. Then one time we
were skating and I knew things were “different.” It was
in the way we held hands.
GCR: When were you married?
BM: July 9, 1976 – 36 years ago!
GCR: Kids came along…
BM: Yes! We have three sons – Dave, Aaron, and
Benny [Benjamin]. Dave was born in 1977, then Aaron
and Benny came long.
GCR: Somewhere along the line, music and family
BM: Dave [husband] and I both enjoy writing [music]
and singing. We started out singing at local events
like the Miss Beaverton Pageant, high school assemblies,
weddings. Then the boys joined in and we began
performing as a family. We got to the point where
Dave had to decide between his job [Ashcraft’s grocery]
or singing – both had become full time. After some
thought and prayer, he went for the singing. We were
on a journey!
GCR: Where did it take you?
BM: We travelled around the region – to other states and Canada. We sang at churches, camps, all kinds of community events. Eventually we had to start homeschooling our kids. But we had the easy part! They already knew how to read and do math, so we asked Gladwin schools for the curriculum so we could use it. It [touring] was tiring – and sometimes we never knew what kind of accommodations we would have, but there are no regrets. We had great experiences and met wonderful people. It was really interesting to experience many different churches – the worship style, the way they did things – but yet knowing all of us have the same focus on Jesus.
GCR: Obviously you’re not “the travelling minstrels” any more….
BM: No. When the boys were 15, 16, and 17 years old and we were on our way home from a tour, one of the boys said “I’m kind-of tired…” We talked more about it and spent a few weeks talking, praying, discerning our next move. We decided that it was time to move in a different direction. We [family] live a very much faith-based life and are open to wherever God leads us… so we knew we’d find something…
GCR: Fast forward… How does your faith spill over into your school bus work and what do each of you do?
BM: Dave drives a bus and I’ve been a bus monitor, mostly for children with needs. We both love kids of all ages and hope to bring some kindness into their lives – especially to let them know they are loved and respected. We go to their concerts, ball games, and other activities so that they can see we really do care. Some kids don’t get that anywhere else. We don’t beat them over the head with our faith, but we try to show God’s love to them.
GCR: Sounds like the Jesus model!
GCR: I know your church family is very important to you...
BM: They are awesome. They are so caring and giving. And faithful.
GCR: Community is important to you and Dave, too, isn’t it?
BM: It is. We’d always tell our sons, “Life isn’t just about us.” It’s about the community. It’s the same with our church family. They see a need among one another or in the community and ask, “How can we find ways to do this [meet this need]?”
GCR: Tell me about “Hometown USA.”
BM: In 1985, we made an album called “Hometown USA,” with the subtitle “A Tribute to Gladwin Michigan.” Remember two years ago when Bob Frei took a photo of ‘the people of Gladwin’ because it was the 25th anniversary of the first ‘people of Gladwin’ picture? That first picture came out of our first album; it was on the cover.”
GCR: I bet lots of folks don’t realize that! I would like to talk more with you about the album. I know you and Dave wrote all the music, with one side being dedicated to Gladwin and the other to all the churches in the community and to Jesus. Can we sit down and talk more about it?
DM: Sure. We’d love to.
GCR: On another note… are your sons married?
BM: Yes, we have three wonderful daughters-in-law… they are our “daughters.” Dave and Aaron, married Alicia and Elizabeth – who happen to be sisters. And Benny is married to Leah. They are amazing.
BM: They are delight! We have ten grandchildren – five girls, five boys.
GCR: What’s their age range?
BM: They go from six to thirteen years. They all live in Gladwin.
GCR: That is very lucky for you!
BM: We are so grateful to God that we’re all able to stay in Gladwin. We love this town.
GCR: And we’re grateful that you are here, too. Thank you for your time and gracious hospitality.
BM & DM: Our pleasure! And thank you!
Note: Side one of “Hometown USA” is “Dedicated to all the friends and families that make Gladwin so special”! Side two is “Dedicated to all the churches in our community, and to the One those churches represent… Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”