Our hearts are broken with the death of our good friend Bev (Burch) Beernink, taken from us way too soon.
Bev was a dear friend dating back to our days in elementary school. In recent years, we had the opportunity to enjoy theatre together. She was always ready to see our son, Thomas, on stage, coming to shows at the Grand in London and Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend, when he was a kid in the chorus.
A few years ago, we had a good trip over to Port Huron, Michigan to see Thomas as the Artful Dodger in “Oliver!”. Her Dad, Russ, came along, and recalled taking their whole family – Mum Lorna, Bev, Dave & Joanne – to see the movie “Oliver!” when it first came out.
Bev was always up for travelling with me to see Thomas at Sheridan College in Oakville. She enjoyed “110 in the Shade”, as she had recently seen the old movie The Rainmaker on TV and was delighted to learn it was a musical, too. She also enjoyed “A New Brain” and “Brigadoon” at Theatre Sheridan.
Along with our good friend, Joanne Vandersluis, we had a wonderful girls’ weekend in Port Hope two years ago, seeing “Anne of Green Gables”, when Thomas played Moody. The show reminded her of a family vacation that she, Jerry & her boys – Chris, Mike & Tim – had in Prince Edward Island, which she said was one of the best. Later, she returned to PEI and saw Charlottetown’s version of Anne of Green Gables.
But last summer’s Camelot at Huron Country Playhouse was a special favourite. I will cherish the memory of glancing beside me at Bev in the darkened theatre and seeing her mouthing all the lyrics of Camelot’s many wonderful songs, then grinning at me when she realized I’d caught her singing. Her parents, Lorna & Russ, had been fans of Camelot and had played the soundtrack album frequently in their home when Bev was growing up – often enough for Bev to know all the songs. She was generous with her applause when Thomas as Mordred took his bow.
Last November, Bev & Jerry were in a group of eight of us who went for a Jersey Boys trip. Everyone enjoyed the show, but it was the laughter before and after that gives us the best memories. Bev took a lot of teasing that weekend, and loved every minute of it. She made our excursion fun.
Live theatre is wonderful, but it is the people you share the experience with, that makes it magnificent. I will miss sharing with Bev. She was a very giving fan, and a very good friend. There will be an empty seat in the theatre and an empty place in our hearts.