John Beach Dies at 92

John Beach is shown in Kona, North Carolina, in 1968 during an outing to photograph the Black Mountain’s successor, the Yancey Railroad.
John Beach (right) and Alex Bruchac pose during the 2011 Akron Railroad Club banquet at the Martin Center of the University of Akron.

Longtime Akron Railroad Club member John Beach died at his home on Monday. He was 92. Reed Funeral Home in Canton is handling the arrangements.

His son Dave wrote in a note that John lived his entire life in Canton and Massillon.

After graduating from Massillon Washington High School, he went to work for the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway, which later was acquired by the Nickel Plate Road.

He worked on the railroad for eight years before deciding to pursue a career as a science teacher.

John taught at Perry and Fairless high schools and the University of Akron. He taught for 54 years.

He held degrees from Kent State University and the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Dave Beach said his father was an active photographer and a frequent contributor to the Nickel Plate Historical Society magazine, was the secretary for the CC&S club for retired railroaders, wrote several articles for Trains magazine.

He also wrote a book on the Black Mountain railway in North Carolina. 

“As railroads modernized and the operations that he knew were disappearing his interest turned more to railroad history,” Dave Beach wrote about his father.  “Many of our conversations started with ‘Did I ever tell you about the time . . .’ And he would proceed to repeat a story I had most likely heard before.

“Maybe I’ll remember a few. I learned a lot about railroads and photography from him. I’ve been lucky to have him for so long but will miss him and realize that so much history has been lost.”

John Beach joined the ARRC on Feb. 26, 1970, which gave him the second longest tenure among ARRC members behind only Paul Woodring, who joined in 1969.

Dave assembled a tribute to his Dad’s photography titled An Evening With John and Dave Beach, that was shown on Dec. 1, 2012, at the ARRC’s annual banquet. It would turn out to be the last banquet the club held. The following year the banquet gave way to the annual end of year dinner.

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One Response to “John Beach Dies at 92”

  1. Dave Beach Says:

    Thanks for writing this Craig. Although Dad officially joined in 1970, I can remember going to a meeting years before that. It was held in a car at the Brittain Rd yard. I don’t remember much except it was kind of intimidating for a little kid. A visitation will be held on Friday evening (6:00 – 8:00) at Reed Funeral Home on Raff Rd in Canton with the funeral at that location on Saturday at 11.

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