Beeler's daughter, Lisa Wallen, voiced her family's appreciation of the community support during her father's recent illness, but declined further comment during this time of mourning when contacted by The Brazil Times Monday afternoon.
People of all ages sent Beeler cards and letters of encouragement after he was hospitalized at Terre Haute Regional Hospital in late October. The mail kept coming when Beeler was moved to Clay County Health Center and Rehabilitation Services to recuperate.
"Bill was always a big man, even in high school, and he had an even bigger heart," former editor of The Brazil Times Jim Dressler said.
Even before the creation of the annual Christmas in the Park celebration, Dressler said that many people throughout the county would have special memories of Beeler "spreading Christmas cheer" as Santa.
"Some Santas may have had a price, but Bill never took money for sitting somewhere to meet children for Christmas or go to people's homes for the holidays," Dressler said about Beeler's holiday spirit. "Bill was a true Santa Claus."
Funeral arrangements are pending at French Funeral Home.