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Martin Gerald Beam, 88, died April 7, 2007, at Richland.
His funeral and a celebration of his life will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at the New Bridge Church of the Nazarene. Interment will be at the Eagle Valley Cemetery in Richland. Friends are invited to join the family for a reception and dinner afterward at the New Bridge Grange.
Martin was all good, an angel, his children said. “His morals were that of a saint. He was everything a man, a father, a husband or friend should be, but few are. He was the most honest man we’ve ever known. He was a lover of life and thanked God for each and every day of it,” they said.
He reveled in the beauty of his surroundings and never hesitated in his own advice to take time out to notice and take in Mother Nature’s many marvels.
Martin was a humble and genuine man as well as a giving person. His passion was gardening and most of what he grew he’d give away to his friends, neighbors, family and even strangers. He stayed busy his entire life. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, mushrooming, gathering firewood, helping other people, and doing just good, old-fashioned hard work.
His proudest accomplishment was his family. He put his heart and soul and all his love into raising his kids. He took them to ball games, roller skating, swimming, camping, fishing, hunting, airports, and vacations. Wherever it was they needed to go, he took them, including, on occasion, a trip to the woodshed for a good swat on the rear.
His children said that he earned his nickname, “Scattergun,” because he was, without a doubt, the worst shot with a shotgun who ever lived. Despite his bad shooting, he took the youngsters out every weekend all season long, they said.
He loved to talk, and once he got someone corralled into conversation, his children had to wait, and the other person had to listen, as he wasn’t much on the hearing end.
Martin was an only child, born on April 30, 1918, at Greenville, Mich. His childhood was spent at Arlington, Wash. His parents divorced, and he lived with his dad.
After completing the eighth grade, Martin quit school to go to work, and later joined the Civilian Conservation Corps camp, working in the woods out of Bellingham, Wash., for $1 a day plus grub.
Even with that paltry sum, he was able to send money home to help out his own dad. After that stint, he stowed away on a freighter out of Seattle, Wash., and ended up in Skagway, Alaska.
From there he hopped trains until he finally made his way to Fairbanks, Alaska. On the journey between Anchorage and Fairbanks, he and another fellow nearly froze to death. He spent several years in Alaska working a variety of jobs from Fairbanks all the way down to Sitka, in the southeastern panhandle.
When he returned to the Lower 48, he worked his way as far south as California, building railway lines. He then returned north and picked hops and fruit at Wenatchee and Yakima, Wash., and at La Grande.
In 1943, he joined the U.S. Coast Guard and did a tour of two years, most of which was spent on Guard Island, just outside of Ketchikan, Alaska.
After the service, he joined his father, who was living at Vancouver, British Columbia. There he took a job at a sawmill, and met his first wife, Joan Darlington. They were married on July 16, 1948.
In 1949, they moved to Corvallis where Martin attended Oregon State University. Four years later, after receiving his degree in fisheries management, he took his first job at a fish hatchery outside of Baker, Nev.
After a year in Nevada, Martin took a job at Silver Springs Hatchery at Maupin. Shortly after that, he landed a job with the National Marine Fisheries in Seattle, Wash., and the family moved to Lynwood, Wash.
After a year there, Martin purchased a house and five acres at Bothell, Wash. This ended the family’s moves for awhile.
In 1961, at the age of 42, Joan died, leaving behind her five young children and Martin. It was a tough time for the whole family, but Martin kept the family together and the children learned all the duties that being a mother entails.
In 1963, the family moved to Richland where Martin was tagging salmon fry at a fish trap on Eagle Creek. There he met his second wife, Arbelyn Simmonis. They were married at Baker City on Dec. 19, 1964.
In 1966, the family moved to Anatone, Wash. Martin worked on the Grande Ronde River just south of Troy. This job soon ended and in l967 he and his family returned to their house at Bothell, Wash., and Martin returned to work at Seattle.
In 1969, at the age of 51, Martin had enough of being in one spot for so long, and so he and Arbelyn and the four kids remaining at home moved to New Zealand. Dad was in heaven there. He worked for the New Zealand Marine Department at Wellington.
He retired in 1979, and they bought a lot and built a house on Camano Island in Washington. He spent his years there gardening, working at odd jobs, and traveling.
In 1993, they made their final move back to Richland where Martin continued his energetic lifestyle. He joined the Eagle Valley Grange and the New Bridge Church of the Nazarene and volunteered his services for a variety of community events.
He still worked odd jobs and was always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone, and he grew his gardens. Even last summer, though his health was failing, he grew his garden. He said it was the best garden he ever had. He tended it, harvested and preserved it. He savored every minute of it. He knew it would be his last.
Survivors include his children, William Russell Strand, and his wife, Beverly, of Adelanto, Calif., Martin Dennis Beam and his wife, Darlene, of Richland, Rebecca Lawrie of Sitka, Alaska, Debra Vanover of Lebanon, Gregory Beam of Camano Island, Wash., and Stephanie Peterson and her husband, Eric, of Sitka, Alaska; a sister-in-law, Beverly Hendrick of Richland; 23 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and two wives, Joan Darlington Beam and Arbelyn Simmonis Beam.
Memorial contributions may be made to Heart ‘N’ Home Hospice through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, April 12, 2007
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor