Frank S. Beal ’51 died on September 5, 2020 in Wilton, Maine.
(The following was published by Central Maine on September 12, 2020)
With deep sorrow, the family of Frank Spear Beal, 94, of Wilton, say goodbye to their beloved Dad, who passed peacefully in the early hours of September 5, 2020. Frank was born to parents Charles Linwood and Edna Spear Beal at the family’s Avon, Maine farm on July 6, 1926.
Frank was a hard worker throughout his 94 years. From a young age he helped with the endless chores on the family farm that also served as the Phillips and Avon dairy. A picture calendar advertising the dairy in the Depression depicts Frank and his younger brother, Robert – both hardly more than toddlers – tasked with delivering milk, drawn and bottled by their father, with a child’s wagon. When he began riding a bicycle Frank added the Franklin Journal to his milk deliveries.
The Beals purchased a house in town and moved the herd there every winter so that Frank could attend school in Phillips, where he played clarinet and basketball and graduated from Phillips High School in 1945. He also learned to fly at the Phillips airfield, earning his pilot’s license.
Weeks after graduating, Frank was drafted and joined the U.S. Army in June 1945, undergoing basic training at Ft. Blanding, Florida. Frank served as a finance clerk at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, and qualified as a rifleman and in light machine gunnery. He was honorably discharged in November 1946 as a private, first class.
Following his service Frank and brother Bob enrolled together in Bowdoin College, though Frank soon had to return home to help with the farm when his mother fell ill. Frank later transferred to the University of Maine at Orono to study forestry, where he undertook officer training in the ROTC program, and joined Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity. He met his future wife, Ruth Anora Burrill from Portland, at the University, and both graduated in 1952. Frank and Ruth were married in 1953, moved to Avon to take over the family farm, and remained happily married for over sixty-seven years until Frank’s death.
Frank soon realized that farming in Maine in the 1950s had little future, and in 1956 he joined International Paper Company as a forester and surveyor. He also partnered with brother Bob Beal, an attorney, and friend Elwood Allen, a school teacher and superintendent, to form Beal & Allen and invest in local woodlands and abandoned farms. At I. P. Co., Frank was promoted and in 1962 transferred to Ashland to manage International Paper’s vast northern Maine woodlands.
During his fifteen-year tenure in ‘The County,’ Frank pioneered innovations in wood fiber supply and transportation for I. P. Co.’s hungry paper mills, laying out and building roads to access vast holdings of forests, introducing modern equipment and machinery, guiding the company’s transition to rail and truck transport, fought forest fires, initiated forest management practices to assure sustainability, and combatted the state’s spruce budworm infestation. Frank went on to retire from I. P. Co.’s Livermore Falls Woodland Management office in 1985.
Frank was also civic minded. He was an active member of the Ashland Rotarians, Congregational Church, Boy Scouts, and the Odd Fellows.
In retirement, Frank kept busy – in Maine and Florida – with commercial wood harvesting, peat- bog and other resource exploration, golf, bowling, European and U.S. travel, and civic engagement in the Wilton Congregational Church and Rotary Club.
Frank is survived by his wife of sixty-seven years, Ruth Burrill Beal; children, Karen Marie St. Peter, Keith Frank Beal, and Kevin John Beal; grandchildren, Erik St. Peter, Margaret Smith, Mary Clunie, Molly Bofia, Maximilian Beal, and Steven Gerrish; and great-grandchildren, Eli St. Peter, Scarlett, Poppy, and Ruby Smith, Louisa and Georgia Clunie, Alyssa Bofia, Isla Carter, Avery Smith, and Theodore Beal. He was predeceased by his parents, brother Robert John Beal, and eldest child Kenneth Linwood Beal.
Frank was much respected throughout his life by friends, co-workers, and acquaintances for his calm integrity, intelligence, and dry wit. The Beal family in particular would like to recognize and thank family friends Christine Tropeano, Randy May, Phil Bofia, and Dwayne Nadeau for their steadfast support and friendship for Frank.