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Ralph Robert Beardsley

December 1, 1926 - May 9, 2017

Ralph Robert Beardsley: December 1, 1926 - May 9, 2017

Service Date: May 13, 2017

Funeral Home Carp


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Ralph Robert (Bob) Beardsley

December 1, 1926 – May 9, 2017

Beloved father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend, Ralph Robert Beardsley (known as Bob) died peacefully at home in Ottawa, “in the bosom of his family”, on May 9, 2017 at the age of 90. Predeceased by his wife Barbara (Tubman) and his grandson Tommy Milburn, Bob will be sorely missed by his brother Tom Beardsley (Donna Lomas) and his cousin Maggie Petersen; also by his children Ruth (Willi Ribi), Phyllis (Bill Darnell), John (Jill Hewison), and Robin (Dave Wilenius); grandchildren Lindsay Milburn (Angus Ferguson), Adam Beardsley, Hunter Wood (Tuyet Le), Sam Beardsley, Ross Wood, Ian Wilenius, Becca Beardsley, Steven Wilenius, Beth Beardsley, Nicholas Beardsley; and great-grandchildren Frances and Rowan Ferguson. After Barbara died, Bob found happiness for a few years with Margaret McBurney in Toronto and will be missed by her extended family and the friends he met through her at the Arts and Letters club. Bob was born in Colon, Panama in 1926 to Marjorie Marion (Hunter) and Ralph Robert Beardsley Sr. He lived his early years in Central America where his father worked for the Standard Fruit Company.  In 1940 he came to Sherbrooke, Quebec and then Ottawa, Ontario after his father enlisted with the Sherbrooke Fusiliers. In Ottawa he finished high school at Glebe Collegiate where he met Barbara Elizabeth Tubman. Bob graduated from Engineering Science at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and worked in Panama for a telephone company, before returning to Canada and getting a job teaching in a one-room school house in Shawville, Quebec. He decided he preferred teaching to engineering and attended the Ontario Teachers College in 1950, the same year he and Barbara married. Barbara and Bob started their political careers as members of the CCF party and were then founding members of the NDP. Bob ran as federal candidate for the NDP in Toronto in 1962, 1963, 1965 and 1972. (Barbara ran for the provincial NDP in 1974 and 1977) They were a formidable team, committed to social justice, community and family. In 1968 they took a hiatus from their activist work and Bob got a job teaching math at Northeastern College in Sangre Grande, Trinidad, working with the Canadian International Development Agency. After a wonderful 2 years of cultural immersion and travel around the Caribbean and South America the Beardsleys returned to Toronto. He taught at Central Technical School and at an alternative school called SEED, before becoming the principal at Eastdale Collegiate Institute.  He retired from the Toronto School Board in 1984 and moved between cottages, traveling and visiting his kids in various parts of Canada before settling in Prince Edward County in the early 90’s. He continued his political work for many years, travelling to various parts of Canada to manage election campaigns for the NDP and offering his expertise to many who came behind him. Barbara passed away in 2005 after 54 years of marriage. Up until the time of his death he was able to enjoy arts and culture, connecting with family and friends, and he always loved a good political discussion.  A lot of adjectives are needed to describe Bob Beardsley – he was generous, loyal, compassionate, wise, full of integrity, non-judgemental, open-minded, respectful, loving, patient and fair. Social justice played a major role in his life and work. He was good at chairing meetings – listening to everyone’s opinion, thinking ahead, anticipating and forestalling problems, and managing any crisis at hand in a calm, cool manner. Bob will be loved and remembered fondly for a long time to come! Services will be held at the Carp Chapel of Tubman Funeral Home, 115 Rivington Street, Carp, Ontario at 2 pm, Saturday May 13th. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the NDP or to Eastdale Collegiate in Toronto (specify the Beardsley-Ryder Bursary fund or the Rooftop Garden).

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