RIP Richard Beaton


Photo by Nancy Beaton.

About 5 years ago, I was introduced to Richard Beaton by his daughter, and my good friend, Nancy. They came by our office and I was immediately taken aback by his friendliness and warmth. Richard and Marilyn were a formidable team of good cheer and it was at that moment that I realized where Nancy got many of her special qualities. I was lucky enough to share a few dinners and drinks with them over a couple more of their visits to Montreal. Whenever I visited St. John’s I always made it a point of calling the Beatons so that we could have lunch or brunch and I could enjoy their company.

If there is any story that I can tell that will demonstrate the kind of person Richard was, it was our time spent on my first visit to St. John’s. Hearing that I was coming for my first visit ever, Richard insisted on picking me up at the airport. He also insisted that we come back to his house for dinner. This was something that I completely didn’t expect.

2 days later, he then took a full day out of his time to drive me, my friend Anne and my 2 brothers on as extensive a tour of the Avalon Peninsula as he could muster. He was as proud an ambassador that Newfoundland could find.

The next time I visit St. John’s, my time there will be just a little bit less interesting without Richard’s company. He will be missed dearly.

Richard Beaton, a New Brunswicker who found his home on the CBC airwaves of Newfoundland and Labrador, has died November 17, 2013 after suffering a stroke. He was 68.

More condolences here.


4 responses to “RIP Richard Beaton”

  1. Lori Siska Avatar
    Lori Siska

    Richard was a lifelong friend of my husband Ian Mercer. They met in boarding school many years ago and kept in touch for years later.

    My first “meeting” of Richard was his annual birthday call to Ian in 1999. What a jovial and interesting discussion we had. I finally had the privilege of meeting him, Marilyn and Jill when we spent 2 weeks in Newfoundland researching Ian’s family roots in 2010. Ian and I arrived on the same day but with different flights as Ian had planned to arrive by ferry, (unfortunately the ferry trip was cancelled), a sort of “coming home”, a reversal of his father leaving for Canada at least 70 years before. Since Richard and I had never met, we decided my white hat and his “loud” Hawaiian style shirt would be good indicators amongst the sea of people. We found each other in no time flat!

    Richard promptly educated me on the various sayings of Newfoundland (poisoned, from away) so I could be quickly acclimated to the local people. Within 2 days he took us to Aunt Betty’s (not sure if that was the proper name) so we could experience a kitchen gathering of music by local folk. It didn’t take us long to realize he knew just about everyone we met on the street or in stores.

    He was thrilled to be able to share Newfoundland music by bringing us to the annual folk festival. He knew just about everyone there, oh did I say that again?

    Oh our last day, Marilyn took her lunch break from work to see us off back to Ontario. That’s the kind of people they were and are. Their home was open to visitors regularly. I later wrote to them “When I went to Newfoundland I knew I would like the people but I didn’t know I would fall in love with them.”

    I love this photograph. It shows his essence. Richard was truly a great ambassador and he will be sorely missed.


  2. Craig Cutler Avatar
    Craig Cutler

    Richard was one of a kind. I hope a part of him shines through my daughter, his grand-daughter, like the ray of sunshine he was.

  3. Alexandra Avatar

    Thinking of you with so much love and your sadness and loss and I’m so sorry I can’t be there to pay tribute to his wonderful life

    Sarah had posted the link to the CBC clip today on Facebook


    Watching made me smile – and shed tears at his voice and image

    Richard was an inspiration – with health challenges and perseverance

    It made me remember a very cold snowy February past – and thinking of of Marilyn’s Fish Pie and the comfort of their home and the batter between he and my friend, now a famous actor , but Richard more infamous and I (although hard to compete with those two impromptu) and then the piano concerto he insisted Nancy perform – albeit I think he spoke over Chopin… Will sang a Capella – Marilyn and I ate more pie…

    I wish I had recorded the lyrics…

    We were in St John – naive – at the age of 21 – filming our first documentary on the fisheries crisis ” ‘Tis the Only Way Of Life”

    We landed in a blizzard – Richard insisted on picking us up at the airport.

    This was days before cell phones – but Mary had given me her brothers number and we were stranded…

    He insisted. And gave us batteries for our video camcorder.

    After being stranded in Twillingate for 2 weeks after another February storm – Richard insisted on picking us up again and making us safe and on a plane travelling back to our different lives in communication in New York

    With so so so much encouragement.

    Richard made a profound impact to encourage our belief in documentation and communication and family and community

    I will always remember that evening(s)

    And Richard.

    Love to all the Beatons and the families he touched both extended and across the broader waves of telecommunication and community

    Love you and so grateful for his presence in our lives


  4. Mark Barre Avatar
    Mark Barre

    So sad to learn at this late date of Richard’s passing. In 1978, I was a 19 year old student in St John’s for a Rotary Club exchange program. Richard and Marilyn hosted me and my travel mate for several days in their home. I will always remember their kindness and the trouble they went to to educate us “yanks” on Newfoundland and Canada in general. We enjoyed home cooked meals, stimulating conversations, and took “field trips” to interesting locales. RIP Richard. You will live in my memories, and I will continue to treasure the days spent in your household.

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