TRAVERSE CITY — After 85 years of a life filled with marvelous memories, experiences and friendships, John B. Beers Sr. peacefully passed away after a brief illness, surrounded by his wife and children at his Traverse City home.
John and Dorothy Beers celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary this past November in Traverse City with their seven children and their spouses in what has become an annual family tradition known as “The John & Dorothy Beers Anniversary Pub Crawl.”
John and Dorothy raised their seven children downstate in Dearborn, where John worked and twice retired from the Ford Motor Company after more than 50 years of working in the scientific-research labs. His first retirement was in 1986, and then John was rehired after Ford Motor realized they had retired their one and only glassblower. John liked to joke that “Ford only has one CEO and only one glassblower ... guess which one I am!” His second retirement occurred in 2006, allowing John time to join the Traverse City Kiwanis Club and travel to their winter home in Arizona.
His glassblowing skills and artistic flair were developed at Greenfield Village in Dearborn as a young man, where John demonstrated the craft, entertaining tourists from around the world. He appeared in the July 1958 National Geographic magazine in an article profiling Greenfield Village. He created hand-blown Christmas tree ornaments that have become collectables for generations of families, and his work was selected to decorate the official White House tree. His glassblowing work at Ford included collaborating with engineers to design and build scientific apparatus used in research projects ranging from air quality control to space exploration. John continued to work from a home studio crafting Christmas tree ornaments after retiring.
Moving to Traverse City in 1987, John became the unofficial ambassador of the “Greater Grand Traverse Tourist and Visitor’s Bureau.” He loved to introduce his family and friends to the area’s scenic attractions, the specialty shops, restaurants and of course, the pubs. John’s guests could be assured they were about to experience Downtown TC John’s way, by walking. Walking wasn’t just John’s passion, it was his greatest love after his first love, Dorothy, as walking afforded him the opportunity to share stories and talk with acquaintances and strangers alike. A simple trip to the corner store could consume an entire afternoon. An ideal day was for John to meet with his walking club buddies at the Building 50 complex, converse over coffee after a brisk walk and conclude his day with Dorothy with a meal or beverage at their favorite TC restaurant, the Amical.