April 28, 1916 - April 10, 2003
Charles Andrew Beatty (Charlie) passed away in Lakes District Hospital on April 10, 2003. Family and many friends celebrate his remarkable life.
Charlie was born during a snowstorm on April 28, 1916 in Earlie, Alberta, eldest of four boys born to Andrew and Harriet (nee Howelet) Beatty. Following his mother’s death in 1928, Charlie helped his Dad care for brothers John, Jim, and Wilfred. The Beatty family worked together to build a thriving homestead and farm. Charlie’s life-long love of music began with the four boys’ dance band, where he played the violin.
As a farm boy, his mechanical ability led him into the local lumber industry by 1930. A planned move to the Queen Charlotte Islands stopped short at the Lakes District. The Francois Lake area became a life-long love for Charlie. Working with his brothers John and Jim as owner/operators of sawmills, they developed an area that became known as Beatty Bay, now called Indian Bay.
During the 1930s, being an accomplished carpenter and millwright, his construction career expanded to include other lumber mills, residential and commercial buildings, and industrial sites. Major projects included the Prince Rupert airport and hospital, with other work in communities from Stewart to Vancouver. Always returning to Beatty Bay, the beginning of World War II interrupted plans for expansion.
Charlie enlisted in the Canadian Army in 1942. He received training with the Canadian Commando corps in Britain and joined a service corps field recovery unit in 1943. While in England, he maintained fitness through boxing, a pastime that included being a sparring partner for young Jack Dempsey. Landing at Caen after the Normandy invasion, he served through France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany. His military focus then became rebuilding. As a trades instructor/assistant, he continued to work in Holland until 1946, returning to Canada and active carpentry/upholstery/ machine work until his discharge in 1948. Charlie supported the Royal Canadian legion, as a member, for 57 years. He attended nearly all legion Remembrance Day ceremonies, proudly carrying the flag at local parades and talking to school children about the war.
Back in Francois Lake, with the lumber industry flourishing, life was good. It became even better when he met the daughter of vacationing Canadian National Railways Superintendent. Sharing his love of the area, Betty Munro became his beloved wife in 1949, to the lasting satisfaction of both.
Starting a new life as a family man in the town of Burns Lake, he built and began operating a laundry/dry cleaning business in 1950. His three children, Jane, Bill and Louise were born while living in the same building as Beatty’s Cleaners. The Beatty family operated Beatty’s Cleaners and Hilltop Gardens, with Charlie operating Beatty’s Undertaking as well.
As part of his commitment to the community, Charlie became involved in local service groups. He served for decades in the Masonic Lodge and participated as an enthusiastic Shriner, particularly during the Shrine Circus. He was also Worthy Patron for Order of the Eastern Star and Charter President of the Burns Lake Kinsmen Club. A Boy Scout Leader for several years, he shared laughter and joy in the outdoors with local youth.
In 1969, Beatty’s Cleaners was sold. He spent the next summer working for British Columbia Forest Service at Boer Mountain Lookout. Charlie then worked for the Burns Lake RCMP detachment from 1972 to 1991. During this time, he also worked for Houston Forest Products as a millwright, logged family lands and milled railroad ties.
Charlie’s later years were spent ice fishing, working with stained glass, woodworking, bird watching, rock hounding and gardening. Adored by his children and grandchildren, he shared advice and humour with both generations. Spring was a favourite time of year for him when baby animals were born and a new gardening season began.
A legendary socializer, Charlie loved the people around him and making them a part of his home, the Lakes District. A resident of Beatty Road, he was a true pioneer with a clear picture of the present and vision of the future.
Charlie was pre-deceased by his parents, William Andrew and Harriet Beatty, brothers John, Jim and Wilfred, and daughter Margaret Grace.
Charlie is survived by Betty, his wife of 54 years, and children, Jane Dean (John), Bill (Madeline), and Louise Miller (Otto). He was also blessed with seven grandchildren, Jocelyn (Ian), Michael (Bobbi and Gavyn), Laura, Edward, Sarah, Ryan, and Jonathan, with his first great grandchild expected this fall. They all remember happy times with their Grandpa.
On Charlie’s behalf, we hope that his many friends will also remember those happy times shared.
A memorial service was held at Immaculata Church, Tuesday, April 15, officiated by Rev. Jim Massey of the United Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Canadian Cancer Society.