Former Owen Sound mayor 'wanted to make a difference'

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A former Owen Sound mayor, Richard “Rick” Wayne Beaney, has died at 66.


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He was diagnosed two years ago with dementia, which progressed quickly, and then he developed pneumonia, his wife Kerry Ann Beaney and daughter Michele Wunsche said Friday. Mr. Beaney died June 30 in Owen Sound hospital.

Rick Beaney joined city council in 1993 by appointment.

Mayor Ovid Jackson had left for Ottawa to be the local MP and so Coun. Harry Henderson was appointed mayor. His councillor’s seat was filled by Mr. Beaney, based on having earned the most votes in 1991 among unelected candidates.

Mr. Beaney remained on council until Aug. 2001, serving as city/county councillor when he was appointed mayor, after that post was vacated by Stew Taylor, who was appointed a justice of the peace. Mr. Beaney remained mayor until the 2003 election, when Ruth Lovell defeated him.

He was a people person, Kerry Beaney said, and he treated everyone the same.

Just ask any student who attended OSCVI, she said, where her husband worked as a custodian. His death notice said many school kids would remember “his kind and jovial nature.”

Mr. Beaney retired in 2010 as supervisor of custodial services with the Bluewater District School Board.

He loved lacrosse and was proud to have helped keep the Owen Sound Attack hockey team in the city. He had hopes the Leafs would win the “COVID Cup,” which he so named for the pandemic which has shortened the hockey season.

Mr. Beaney was a strong Conservative supporter, president of CUPE Local 1176, and grew interested in politics through his upbringing, particularly through the Conservative politics of his father.


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His service on the Owen Sound Public Utilities Commission confirmed for Mr. Beaney that he liked that work, his wife said.

His service while on city council included as chair of the operations committee and as a member of the Owen Sound Police Services Board. He was proud to have helped hire Tom Kaye as deputy-chief, who would later become chief.

He served on the city’s committee of adjustment as recently as December.

“He loved Owen Sound . . . and he wanted to make a difference. And he wanted a say too,” she said, pausing to laugh. “He had an opinion.”

As his daughter half-jokingly put it: “He wanted to be the boss.”

Bill Twaddle said he and Mr. Beaney became “quite close. Rick was a real mentor to me in my early years on council.”

Mr. Beaney’s familiarity with issues and background knowledge, along with his dedication to work hard and ability to listen, meant his decisions were well informed, Twaddle said. Mr. Beaney was also “highly respected” by city staff.

“I had a lot of respect for Rick,” Twaddle said. He said Mr. Beaney “did a great job of leading council,” for the two years he was mayor. “I think his lasting contribution was he was always informed when it came to the debate.”

Twaddle also remarked on Mr. Beaney being a “straight-up guy,” who didn’t say one thing and then vote differently. They didn’t always agree but Twaddle knew where he stood with Mr. Beaney.

Mr. Beaney loved and was proud of his family and especially his six grandchildren. A private, family graveside service at Mount Pleasant Cemetery will take place July 9. A celebration of life will follow at a later date.

The family suggests sympathies may be expressed through a memorial donation to the Alzheimer’s Society of Grey Bruce, via the Brian E. Wood Funeral Home, 250 14thSt. W. in Owen Sound.

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