BY HAROLD BEAMER
Special to the Voice
On behalf of my brother Ralph in Peterborough, myself, and our families, I’d like to express our gratitude to the family, friends, and customers who have extended their sympathies upon learning of the death of our brother Lloyd. To many of you who have only known Lloyd as the smiling, kind, helpful owner of Beamer’s Hardware, I would like to share some of the history and memories of our eldest brother and the son of Dorcas and Cecil Beamer.
Lloyd was born in the village of Fonthill on September 25, 1939, the month that Canada declared war on Germany in World War II. He grew up during a time of wartime anxiety and rationing. This influenced him immensely during his later years.
He became a big brother to Ralph in 1941 and later to myself in 1946. As boys we were very close to each other—as playmates and for getting into mischief as well. That is, Ralph and I would be getting into mischief while Lloyd stayed in character as the obedient and protective older brother.
Our father was a cabinet maker, so he often made our wooden toys and he introduced us into woodworking at an early age. This came in handy in later years as Lloyd and myself became Industrial Arts teachers and Dr. Ralph became an orthopedic surgeon. In 1968, Lloyd (as his father did for his bride in the 1930s, on a wage of 25 cents an hour) built his family home for Shirley prior to getting married. Alongside several loyal and longtime workers at the store (Jim, Ed, Tony, June, Mrs. Cummings, Bill, and Doug), he passed on his knowledge to solve problems for customers and he also trained his children and grandchildren in the art of creating things from scratch or mending broken items to reduce, reuse and recycle.
So you see, after all his life experiences, owning a hardware store was his dream job and the helping of others was second nature to him. His motto was that Good Service was the unwritten rule and he often went above and beyond.
Lloyd was meticulous, and as a young man he received many awards for the handmade projects he entered into the Welland County Fair. In Grade 12, he built an award-winning desk, and was encouraged by his teacher, Mr. Jeff Cravens, to become an Industrial Arts teacher. In Hamilton to attend teacher’s college, he roomed with his cousin Vernon, who also became a technological teacher. Later he took additional courses to get his specialist degree in Industrial Arts. During the summers, we brothers painted many local homes and throughout his life after the age of 12 Lloyd was never without a job.
Lloyd was a generous man who always put his family first. In fact, I don’t think I ever heard Lloyd say no to any request. In our early years as we were getting established in our careers, we often helped each other out financially. Lloyd liked to work hard for what he got, and, like our father, declined to rely on credit. He took on extra remodeling or building jobs on evenings and weekends for friends even while he taught school for his first 25-year career. After he bought the store in 1986, he devoted himself to community needs and even sponsored a few sports teams. He loved going into the store daily and communicating with the people who stopped by for a friendly chat or to share some community news.
As a young man, Lloyd had such iron self-control. If we got a chocolate bar for Christmas, Ralph and I would have ours eaten in one day. Lloyd would have his in his desk for weeks, only taking a bite at a time until it was all gone. Lloyd was dependable. As a teenager, he worked steadily for Gordon Haist on his vast farm and was often given management responsibilities, such as driving the tractor off-site to pick up or deliver supplies. Dad died young of heart failure, in 1965, leaving mom to care for three sons. Lloyd helped our widowed mother keep the family’s two-and-a-half acre fruit farm on Canboro Road going long after dad died. He became the man of the house while Ralph was away studying medicine at Queen’s University and I was still in high school.
Lloyd showed pride and love to all his nieces and nephews and left them all with some very special memories of him. To quote our daughter Jennifer, “Everything I learned about growing peaches, I learned from Uncle Lloyd.”
During family gatherings, Lloyd was often the quiet one who sat there listening and taking it all in. However, when he did speak everyone paid attention to his words.
Yes, it is a great loss and he will be missed. We are grateful that while he was with us he had such a great impact. It was a life well-lived and now Lloyd can rest in peace, but he will forever be cherished in our memories. ◆