Then-Mayor Ralph Beamer, in period clothing, celebrates the Village of Fenwick's 150th anniversary, in September 2003. BEAMER FAMILY

Longtime Pelham resident, business owner, and former Mayor Ralph Beamer has died, following a brief hospital stay. He was 87.

Beamer was a third-generation tender fruit farmer, and co-owner of Beamer’s Country Market. He served as director and president of the Niagara Peninsula Fruit Growers Association, a director of the Canadian Horticulture Council, and a member of the Ontario Crop Insurance Commission.

Beamer entered politics in the early 1990s, serving first as a Pelham Town Councillor, from 1992 to 1994, then three terms as Mayor, from 1995 to 2003. As Mayor he also served on Regional Council, where he was a member of the Regional Finance Committee.

Pelham Mayor Marvin Junkin recalls being contacted by Beamer when Junkin himself first entered office.

“I didn’t know Mr. Beamer that well, which is why I was pleasantly surprised when he reached out to me after I was elected Ward 1 Councillor, suggesting we meet so that he could give me advice as to the do’s and don’ts of being a councillor. I jumped at the chance and his words did indeed serve me well. My condolences to his wife and family.”

Town of Pelham Communications Specialist Leah Letford told the Voice that staff and Town Council were saddened to hear of Beamer’s passing.

“His dedication for serving the community was evident over his terms with Pelham,” said Letford. “Out of recognition for his service, the flags at the municipal building will lower to half mast. The Town extends condolences to his family, friends and all that mourn the loss of such a respected community member.”

A moment of silence will be observed at the next gathering of Town Council, on Monday July 11.

Beamer is survived by his wife, Barbara, four children, six grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and two brothers.