Foster Gilman "Gil" Beamsley
Foster Gilman "Gil" Beamsley III, (78), beloved father of Chris (Jen) Beamsley, Mark (Ingrid) Beamsley, Johanna Beamsley, Jennifer (Todd) Madden, and Katie (Brian) Higgins; supportive grandfather of Alexander (Kathleen) Madsen; Michael (Kendra) Madden, Anna (Zach) Rogers, Andrew Madden, Matthew Beamsley, Cecelia Beamsley, Jacob Madden, Joshua Beamsley, Tyler Madden, Megan Beamsley, Hannah Higgins, Ashton Higgins, and Jack Higgins; admiring great-grandfather of Harper Madden; born to Janet Bashen and Foster Gilman Beamsley Jr., and dear step-brother to Carol Haas and late Robert Switzer, passed away on Monday, August 30, 2021 at Oak Crest Retirement Center. His life will be celebrated in an intimate family service in the great outdoors—a space that never failed to evoke admiration and appreciation for Gil.
Mr. Beamsley was born on March 10, 1943 in Colorado Springs, CO. He moved many times across the nation with his parents during his formative years and spent memorable time with his grandparents. In his early adult life he lived abroad in Germany while in the Army from 1968-1970. He landed in Sycamore, IL in 1970 where he would then reside for the longest and final stretch of life. It was also in Sycamore that he and Patricia Beamsley raised their children. He was a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a B.A. in English (1965), and went on to receive his M.F.A. at Southern Illinois University (1968) with a focus on realistic painting. He would spend time painting every day, primarily with acrylic paints, until his body no longer allowed him in 2019. During his art career he created hundreds of paintings, many of them capturing local rural landscapes featured in the magical natural light of the evening. Over the years, he also held positions at both Montgomery Wards and the Audit Bureau of Circulation where he created maps by hand. He held on to a love of maps throughout life and could always tell you where something was in relation to somewhere. His heart and his perspective on life could best be understood as those of a true artist--someone uniquely seeing the world around them and appreciating it in ways that might largely go unnoticed or unobserved.
In his own words from an article during his early career: "Gil explains his philosophy as follows: 'I decided that even though art has seemed to cover every kind of exploration already, real objects can still be rendered by me with as much interest as I could possibly have and thereby make some real contribution. I finally came to realize that any work, even in a dated style, can be unique and worthy when having been done by an individual with his own history, personality and environment and with sincerity, even rapture, in what he is doing.'"
Though never one to be demanding of attention, he passed along many lessons to his family simply by the way he conducted himself. He appreciated simplicity and the beauty of nature, loved reading and walking, and modelled kindness, gentleness, personal discipline, integrity, patience, and humility. Gil beautifully and effortlessly expressed gratitude for life and those around him. His awe and reverence for the world were deep and he connected to this in a profound way. He will be sorely missed, but we take comfort knowing he will be there when we hear the crunch of snow on a still winter night or insects singing on a sultry late afternoon, when we smell rain and earth, and when we witness the sun anoint the land. He will also live on through the legacy of his family and his art.
All memorials may be made to the following organizations in honor of Gil's care and concern for the preservation of nature, and the support of art through his alma mater:
•Southern Illinois University School of Art and Design: https://cola.siu.edu/artanddesign/giving.php
•Morton Arboretum: https://connect.clickandpledge.com/w/Form/729e0840-4b90-478a-a23a-364dcf41f0a3
•Natural Land Institute: www.naturalland.org/donate/
Cremation arrangements were entrusted to: Finch Funeral Home 310 Oak St. DeKalb, IL, 60115.
Published by The MidWeek News from Sep. 2 to Sep. 3, 2021.