Most people know Alec Beasley through his donation of Beasley Park.
However, Beasley was also a prolific letter-to-the-editor writer. He sent more than 1,000 letters to newspapers across the globe.
Immersing himself into controversy, no subject was too edgy for him, including nuclear disarmament. On this particular topic, he quoted someone as saying “Minister Macmillan and President Kennedy ‘are the wickedest people who ever lived. Much more wicked than Hitler’ and ‘it is our duty to do what we can against them.’”
Beasley wrote to newspapers all over the world, and his name was commonly known from Vancouver to Toronto. His philosophies generally clashed with others’ opinions.
His personal life was strange – he lived with his wife and sister in a very modest house with no foundation, cupboards, bathtub, or any modern appliance.
With six siblings: John, Barbra, Douglas, Ray, Connie, and Mollie Beasley’s father John purchased land in Oyama in 1914 and proceeded to move the family. Beasley was 13 when he arrived in Oyama.
Within one year of moving, Alec’s brothers John and Ray died. John fell through the ice on Wood Lake and drowned; he was trying to make it on skates to a concert at Oyama School. Ray died of a ruptured appendix. Later, Mollie died of Hodgkin’s disease, lymphoma.
By the late 1940s, Beasley sold eggs commercially. After working on a farm for 74 years, Beasley and Connie, his spinster sister, moved to Penticton. The Central Okanagan Regional District purchased the farm property including the 1,000 feet of Beasley Park shoreline for a park.
Originally Beasley was going to donate the property, but he was obliged to sell the land to buy out an English relative who had come to visit. The price, a modest $500,000, was much below market value. Regional director James Baker was closely involved with the transaction.
Although he has no descendants, Beasley loved to collect things. A large collection of his writing is available at Lake Country Museum.
By Lake Country Museum writer Jacob Semenuik. Every week, the Lake Country Calendar will publish a column highlighting our community’s past.