Oct. 21, 1943-May 3, 2012
CANBY - Donald Eugene Beman, 68, co-publisher of the Canby News, died Thursday, May 3, 2012 at Sanford Canby Medical Center nearly four years after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
Services will be 2 p.m. Monday at First Presbyterian Church in Canby with lay pastors Karen Houtman and Steve Ascher officiating. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Birk Funeral Home Canby with a prayer service at 7 p.m. and continuing one hour prior to services at First Presbyterian. Interment will be in Canby City Cemetery. Military honors will be provided by Canby/Porter Military Honor Guard.
Publication of this week's Canby News will be delayed one day, with counter sales available Wednesday, May 9 and home delivery on Thursday, May 10.
Don was born Oct. 21, 1943, in Shenandoah, Iowa, to Thelma (Howe) Beman and Hobert H. Beman, Jr. He spent his early childhood in Santa Barbara, Calif. before the family moved to Jackson, where he attended all 12 years of elementary and high school, graduating from Jackson High in 1961. He attended the University of Nebraska, Lincoln where he earned a degree in journalism. He married Elinor Blair on Sept. 1, 1963. He served as editor of Lincoln's SUN Newspapers, a group of suburban weeklies, for two years while attending the University.
Don enlisted in the U.S. Army in January, 1966, and spent two and a half years as an information specialist at the U.S. Army Arctic Test Center, Fort Greely, Alaska. While in Alaska, the Bemans adopted their daughter, Leah. After completing military service in 1969, he returned to Lincoln and SUN Newspapers until joining United Press International as Statehouse Reporter in the Lincoln Bureau in 1971. In 1982 he joined Associated Press in Des Moines, Iowa, serving as news editor for Iowa until September, 1982 when he was transferred to Philadelphia as the AP's state editor for Pennsylvania.
During his wire service career, he covered the campaigns and presidential visits of six presidents from Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton, Pope John Paul II's first visit to the United States and stories ranging from the American Indian Movement non leadership trials following Wounded Knee to Luciano Pavarotti's appearances with the Philadelphia Opera. In addition, he was responsible for establishing two of the AP's most enduring holiday perennials, the annual Ground Hog Day rousting of Punxsutawney Phil and calculating the yearly cost of the "12 Days of Christmas."
The Bemans moved to Canby in December 1992 and assumed duties as co-publishers of the Canby News. Don was an Elder in First Presbyterian Church, serving as church treasurer for years. He was also a member of the Canby Rotary. He enjoyed music, reading, sports photography and was an avid sailor while living on the East Coast.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Hobert, III; mother-in-law, Eunice Blair and father-in-law, Wayne Blair.
He is survived by his wife, Ellie; daughter, Leah, Canby; sister-in-law, Paulette Blair, Canby, brother-in-law, Donald (Colleen), Atlanta, Ga., sister-in-law, Patricia Beman, Lake Havasu, Ariz., his Canby News family and special friends, Michael and Debra Owen, West Branch, Iowa and James and Beth Graves, Jackson.
Memorials to Canby's First Presbyterian Church and Prairie Lakes Cancer Center, Watertown, S.D. are suggested.