October 13, 2021
In loving memory ~ On October 13, the earthly matter that was John Beerbower was freed to become diving beetle, soil, lake, cougar, tree, elk and many other forms of life. John will be remembered by his family, friends and community for his great love of adventure and the outdoors, his dedicated and reasoned defence of the land and his spirited attraction to music, movement and community.
After landing in New Denver in the 70’s he subsequently made his home in Queens Bay with his life partner, Coby VanderGaast and their daughter Laurel, thriving in the vibrant community of young families. John liked to do things, to be engaged with his mind and his hands. He built a “Kootenay” home for his family with its spectacular view down Kootenay Lake. He tended the property and its abundant heritage apple orchard with care. He was always involved in whatever community endeavour needed attention – water systems, fire safeing, forestry issues, invasive plant removal, etc.
John participated in so many community committees and issues, it’s difficult to list them all. John was a key member of the Queens Bay Residents Association, a strong participant in the CORE process, a representative for the RDCK Area E Director for the West Arm Demonstration Forest in the early 2000s, and more recently a member of the Area E Advisory Planning Committee. During much of his life, he was often on the phone or walking some stretch of land with community members or logging company foresters, reviewing their logging prescriptions and holding them to account for their choices. John was curious, smart, practical and articulate. He capably applied a rich and precise vocabulary to challenge industry ardently and with a reasonableness that commanded great respect, even from his opponents.
When not working around his home or for his community, John could be found with Coby and friends up in the mountains, carving turns in the powder or picking his way carefully up a rubbly slope. His travels took him to treks in other mountainous regions as well – the Andes and the Himalayas – where he also engaged with learning and understanding what those communities are about and trying his hand at the local language.
Throughout his life, John wove his love of the mountains with a great passion for music and spirited connection at community gatherings. He was often seen at the region’s notable musical events. As getting into the mountains became difficult for him, John turned his energy and passion for music toward dance, sustaining his spirit and health sometimes through difficult periods. He deeply appreciated the community of people he shared time with at Nelson’s JusDance.
Gratitude is expressed for the kindness of the staff at Kootenay Lake Hospital and the thoughtfulness and tender care provided there to John in his final days.
A green burial took place at the Dumont Creek Cemetery in Winlaw.
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