May 25 '17

An incredible life

On May 10, 2017, we lost Gerry Beauchamp. His passing is of great significance to countless numbers of people, but his memory will live on. One of the most remarkable impressions that Gerry left on me was his innate ability to achieve success by building upon relationships built through his extraordinary social skills. I am sharing this with all of you because the impact that Gerry left on me and others can be a lesson for all.

May 2017

By Curtis Sprouse

Gerry had an incredible ability to have a positive impact on everyone he encountered. This extraordinary ability allowed him to affect diverse communities of people. Over the last few weeks I have spent a lot of time thinking about this incredible person. I did not know him well, but rather I knew well of him. Gerry touched the lives of so many in a such a special way that I hoped to explore his gifts and to better understand myself by writing this article.

Gerry had an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a PhD in Transpersonal Psychology; it is fair to say he understood people. What was incredible about him was his ability to connect to others, and that he need little time to do so.

I never had a long conversation with Gerry. Most conversations were the standard “hi”, “how are you?” followed by small talk about a race he was running or a trivial topic that had little to do with anything of great importance. But, I always left these brief discussions with a smile and a good feeling inside. My friend Dr. Anne Moylan said it best, “There are few people that make you smile by just seeing them, Gerry was one of those people for me.”

While I did not speak to Gerry much, it was hard to go more than a few days in a week without seeing him. I saw him often in church on Sundays and at the Ipswich Family YMCA, where he served as the Executive Director since 2002. I would see Gerry running past my home regularly. I frequently saw him on the streets of Ipswich with his ball cap turned backwards, his trademark. I would often see him with his wife Trish walking about town or at community events. It was never hard to find Gerry as he seemed to be everywhere.

As I reflect on Gerry’s infinite accomplishments, I realize now what he did so well. Gerry used the “micro,”—such as an encounter with a person—to accomplish the “macro,” including things like building affordable housing units, building a teen center, or leading multi-million-dollar charitable fund raising activities, to name a very few. Gerry treated each personal encounter he had as something special. He found a way to connect, demonstrating care and compassion by using his extraordinary social skills and wit. Gerry made people feel important, he made them feel noticed; he made others feel good, he made them feel!

I often tell my children and clients to leave people better than you find them. I spend much of my day discussing this concept with others trying to help them understand how to do this. Gerry was a living example of a person that left people better than when he found them. While Gerry literally left behind buildings and institutions that make our lives better, what he really left us with were memories, stories, and a good feeling when we remember him.

As I reflect on my last few weeks and the impact this man has had on me, I realize the things that make me smile about Gerry are not my experiences or conversations with him, they are the ones that have been passed to me by others; a joke he told, a nice gesture he made, his relentless ability to be there for others when they needed him. The list goes on and on, and our memory of Gerry will live on and on.

Gerry perfected the very thing that helps us to connect to others, he helped us to build experiences— a joke, a story. He created and participated in events in our life that allowed us to engage with such focus that we only feel emotion when we have completed them: running races, fundraising, helping others in the community to overcome a challenge. Gerry not only participated in these activities with many, but he shared his stories with us. For Gerry, family, faith, and a commitment to community are the aspects of life that create deeper meaning.

As I reflect on the stories I hear about Gerry, I wish that I had gotten to learn more about him. I am amazed that this special person was so close, and that I missed the opportunity to know him better. We lost Gerry Beauchamp on May 10, 2017 after a short battle with cancer. His passing is a loss of great significance to countless numbers of people but his memory will live on. Maybe Gerry left us because it is time for us to endeavor to live like him. Perhaps his passing was his last great gesture to society, to leave us so that we could grow to love others using his memory as a guide.

He will be remembered in our lives for how he lived. We should honor him by living as he did. May God bless Gerry, and Godspeed.