Fate required some members of Tom Brokaw’s “greatest generation” to grab their bootstraps early in life and make something of themselves. James Beecher Mize was such a man and he was a success as a result.
Beecher, as he preferred to be called, was born in Fountain City on May 12, 1920. His parents were William G. and Gertrude Underwood Mize. His father had served in World War I and was a victim of a poisonous gas attack in France. Upon his return to civilian life, his frequent Veterans Administration hospitalization made it very difficult for his wife and three boys. However, their mother saw to it that he and his two brothers attended school and applied themselves. Beecher attended elementary school at first Brownlow and then Fountain City and entered Central High School where he graduated in 1938.