Gary Beswick

Gary J. Beswick Former resident of San Jose Gary Joseph Beswick died peacefully on March 19, 2012 in Santa Rosa, California at the age of 78. He was born in Glens Falls, New York on March 8, 1934 to Sylvia M. Bryant, and adopted by stepfather Lawrence V. Beswick. After moving to Southern California with his family as a teenager and graduating from El Monte High School, Mr. Beswick developed an immense passion for music and began studying violin performance with John Coppin of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and toured Europe with the Seventh Army Symphony in 1955. He subsequently received Bachelor's and Master's degrees in music from San Jose State University, studying under Dr. Gibson Walters. Mr. Beswick performed for many years as a soloist and with numerous ensembles, including the Santa Clara Philharmonic, the Honolulu and Denver symphonies, and the Billings Symphony in Montana, where he served as concertmaster in the 1970s. As a professor of music, Mr. Beswick taught at Western State College and Denver University in Colorado, the University of Hawaii, Eastern Montana College, and Hartnell Community College in Salinas, where he retired in 1994. Mr. Beswick premiered chamber works composed for him by his friends and mentors, Lou Harrison and Alan Hovhaness, who helped him introduce the music of world cultures to many communities. Mr. Beswick also was an accomplished erhu player performing traditional Chinese music with his dear friend Richard Dee, and with Mr. Harrison and his partner, William Colvig. Mr. Beswick was preceded in death by his second wife, fellow violinist Sharon McCall Beswick of Fresno. In retirement, Mr. Beswick and Sharon immensely enjoyed playing together in their "Love Quartet" at weddings and other celebrations. Mr. Beswick is survived by former wife Marilyn A. Beswick of Santa Rosa, with whom he had five sons. He is preceded in death by their youngest beloved son, Jason A. Beswick. He will be greatly missed by his four surviving sons: Timothy L. Beswick and Carleton L. Beswick of Santa Rosa, Terrence M. Beswick of San Francisco, and Gary D. Beswick with daughter-in-law Tessa and grandchildren Emma and Christopher of England. He is also survived by two sisters, Jan Roberts with husband Mark of Oregon, and Karen Hansen with husband Kirby of Los Altos, and niece Monika Tucker of Florida. A private memorial service is planned by his family. For information, contact Donations in memory of Mr. Beswick may be made to the Santa Rosa Symphony, 50 Santa Rosa Avenue, #410, Santa Rosa, CA 95404.

Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Nov. 4, 2012