In Memory

Don Beardsley

Don Beardsley

Donald Reed Beardsley

February 15, 1950 - January 3, 2015

Donald Reed Beardsley, cherished husband, father of two, uncle of 14, great uncle of 14 and beloved teacher of way too many elementary students to count, died Jan. 3. Though forever young, the calendar put him at 64 years old.

"Mr. B" was a teacher in the Raleigh area for 23 years, initially at Penny Road Elementary School in Cary before spending 18 years at Ravenscroft, retiring in 2012. Trained in social work, teaching was a calling that came later than for many people. Inspired by his mother, also an elementary teacher, he took a gamble by leaving a well-paying job at a mental health center in Columbus, Ind., to go back to school to get an education degree. He was 40 and had two young children. Upon graduation, the family chose Raleigh for Don to seek a job, not because of any connection to the area but because it seemed like a nice place to live.

Don was born Feb. 15, 1950 in Detroit to Gale and Melissa (Munn) Beardsley. He grew up in Fort Wayne, Ind., and earned an undergraduate degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, where he met Patti Swenson. They celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary five days before his death.

Although a native of the landlocked Midwest, he was an avid sailor. In recent years, he and Patti enjoyed many a weekend at Oriental sailing their boat, the "Evening Sun." He would say one of the best things he got for the vessel was his "boat dog", Scooter.

Don also was a runner, completing more than 20 marathons, including the Boston Marathon twice. That sounds pretty serious, but he never took it too seriously. Running companions, often panting to simply keep going, could get at least mildly annoyed at his constant chatter and his friendly shouts to anybody within 100 yards of the path. He was a man with an incredibly dry wit who could find humor in the mundane.

Besides his wife, survivors include sons Alex (Jessica) Beardsley, Raleigh, and Tyler (Lindsey) Beardsley, Charlotte; sisters Carolyn (Dave) Ehrman, Bridgton, Maine, and Jill DeVore, Columbus, Ohio; and brother Gale (LiLing) Beardsley, Honolulu, Hawaii; grandson Dylan White, Raleigh; and all the nieces, nephews, grand nieces and grand nephews. Not to mention those countless students.

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01/07/15 06:51 PM #1    

William Briegel

it is a sad day to lose a fine gentleman like Don

01/07/15 07:10 PM #2    

Bruce Johnson

This is sad and tragic news.  I remember Don from Harrison Hill as well as SSHS.  He was one of the good ones.  He always had a smile and something nice to say to any of us.  A very special man.  My prayer for him and one I share with his entire family:  'May life perpetual shine upon him'.


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