Editor’s note: This obituary was compiled by Dana Merryday of The Chronicle.
Gordon Earl Beaman, 71, passed away peacefully at River Bend Hospital on July 20 following a brief illness. His brother, Peter Beaman, and sister, Wendy Weller, were with him as he stepped into Charon’s boat. Gordon was born April 18, 1950 to Paul and Jean (Venn) Beaman. Growing up his parents moved frequently, giving Gordon a cosmopolitan upbringing, which included living three years in England, his mother being English of Welsh extraction.
Beaman was graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in political science. He married Marta Boyett in 1973 and together with Boyett, Robin Bachtler, and Tom Cushman, they moved to Cottage Grove in 1976 to launch a natural foods and general store, Sunshine General Store, a community meeting place and staple for 45 years.
Boyett and Beaman ended their marriage in 1983 but continued as friends and business partners until ’90, determined to keep their store afloat during tough economic times.
Beaman was known for his wit and humor, ranging from one-line zingers, to rambling, hysterically funny monologues. His extensive knowledge of natural medicine, herbs, and health-related knowledge allowed him to help and guide Grovers to better health and well-being.
Beaman was a talented cook who had the knack to hit just the right seasoning and flavors. He served as the chef and baker for the short-lived Blue Sky Cafe, and continued producing his signature big cookie, El Gordo, after it closed.
He had a penchant for Hawaiian shirts in the warmer months and cardigan sweaters in cooler temps. Beaman’s musical talents and knowledge were extensive. He was a madrigal singer in his youth, and performed occasionally as a professional tenor. He was adept on cornet, guitar, and drums, and played in local bands such as “Married Men.” His extensive music collection often served as the soundtrack at Sunshine. Beaman would sing or whistle random pieces, ranging from show tunes, classical, jazz, and country in a way that made them all connect.
The Cascade Lakes were dear to his heart and Beaman was happiest while fishing and boating on those waters.
Health concerns led Beaman to closing Sunshine General Store in May ending an epic run of service to the community.
A memorial was held Sunday Aug. 1, and friends, former employees, and customers shared how he had touched their lives.
His ashes will be taken to the lakes he loved so well.