J. Glenn Beall Jr., 78, a retired insurance executive and member of a prominent political family who served his native Maryland in the state House of Delegates, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, died March 24 at his home in Frostburg. He had carcinoid cancer, which had been diagnosed in 1998.
In business, public service and politics, Sen. Beall largely followed in the footsteps of his father, J. Glenn Beall, a moderate Western Maryland Republican who served in the U.S. House from 1942 to 1952 and the U.S. Senate from 1952 to 1964.
During some of his father's early campaign swings, the younger Beall spent hours on the back roads of Montgomery, Washington and Garrett counties driving his father in the family's sedan to meet with potential voters.
"Public service -- whether it's elected, community or civil -- service above self was the topic of every discussion in the family," said George Beall, a brother of J. Glenn Beall Jr. and one of three sons in the family.
A political moderate and natural orator who appeared studious and courtly, Sen. J. Glenn Beall Jr. campaigned as a Republican when he was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1962. At the time, equal accommodation legislation was a divisive issue; Mr. Beall favored integration of public facilities and a pro-civil rights agenda.
He served as the minority floor leader in the House of Delegates until 1969, when he defeated Democratic challenger Goodloe Byron for the open seat of Maryland's 6th District of the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 1970, at the urging of then-President Richard Nixon, Sen. Beall announced that he would campaign for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, running against incumbent Joseph Tydings, who six years earlier defeated Beall's father for the same Senate seat.
Although Tydings won the majority of votes in the Democratic strongholds of Baltimore City and Montgomery and Prince George's counties, it wasn't enough to offset the number of votes cast for Beall in the other parts of the state.
Scoring a stunning upset, Sen. Beall won the election and went on to serve six years in the Senate, until 1977, when he lost to Democrat Paul Sarbanes.
During his years in the Senate, Sen. Beall identified with the moderate wing of the Republican Party and became political allies with such figures as Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.).
Sen. Beall, whose interests encompassed health, preservation and transportation issues, served on the Budget, Commerce and Labor and Public Welfare committees.
In 1972, he introduced a manpower shortage program to encourage physicians to work in underserved areas of the country. He also shepherded historic tax credit legislation to promote the preservation of historic buildings and helped secure federal and state funding used to build Interstate 68, connecting the western regions of the state to the more populated eastern regions.
"He was not an arm twister," George Beall said of his brother. "He got support for projects on the merits of his arguments, by explaining issues in a substantive way, because he believed in his heart what he was saying."
After leaving Congress, Sen. Beall returned to his father's insurance business in Frostburg. Over the years, Sen. Beall had built the firm into one of the largest privately owned insurance agencies in the country.
He was persuaded to run for elective office again in 1978 and, as the Republican nominee, made an unsuccessful attempt for the Maryland governorship. His lieutenant governor candidate was Aris T. Allen, a prominent state legislator from Annapolis, whose selection on the ticket made him one of the first African Americans to run for state office.
Sen. Beall was defeated by Democrat Harry R. Hughes.
In the late 1990s, Sen. Beall retired as head of his insurance company, Beall, Garner, Screen and Geare, which operated 11 offices in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The agency was ultimately bought by CBIZ Inc., an insurance conglomerate.
John Glenn Beall Jr. was born in Cumberland, Md., and was a member of the 1945 graduating class of the Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire.
He served as a Navy seaman at the end of the World War II. Later, he completed officer training, received a commission as an ensign and rose to commander in the Naval Reserve.
Sen. Beall graduated from Yale University with a degree in economics in 1950. On campus, he joined the Young Republicans and ran a snack bar catering to returning U.S. servicemen.
Over the years, Sen. Beall was instrumental in fraternal, Masonic, civic and charitable organizations. He was past potentate of the Ali Ghan Temple in Cumberland and past president and chairman of board of the League for Crippled Children.
In the 1980s, he served on a board of directors responsible for the construction of a chapel at the presidential retreat at Camp David. In recent years, he was founding chairman of the Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority, which works to protect the area around the western end of the C&O Canal.
Survivors include his wife of 46 years, Nancy Lee Smith Beall of Frostburg; a daughter, Victoria Lee Muth of North Bethesda; and two brothers, Richard Olin Beall of Stevenson, Md., and George Beall of Lutherville, Md.