Edward Burton Beam – July 17, 2009

Edward Burton Beam of Bermuda Run, North Carolina, died July 17, 2009, at the age of 83, after a brief battle with cancer.

Ed Beam was born in Hemlock, New York on August 23, 1925 to Floyd and Pauline Burton Beam and was a graduate of Hemlock High School. After being discharged from the US Army Air Corps after World War II, Ed attended St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, where he graduated in 1949. While in college he was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity and was active in the student newspaper, student radio station, yearbook and many other social and academic honorary organizations.

In his professional life Ed Beam’s interests ran the gamut. After college he joined the family business, Beam & Company, becoming the fourth generation to work in the grain and milling industry. He operated facilities in Seneca Falls and the Portland Point grain elevator in Ithaca, New York which was one of the largest grain elevators in the East with a storage capacity of over three million bushels.

After he sold the business in 1964, Beam owned and operated a number enterprises. He had an importing business, became a licensed stock broker and even spent time as a consultant to the Jim Beam Distilleries in Kentucky.

In 1969 Ed was asked to become the Vice-President of Cook-Gauntlett Travel Agency in Ithaca. A few years later he purchased the agency and renamed it Beam Travel Center. In his years as President of the agency he grew the business, opening offices at Cornell University and the University of Iowa as well as working with many businesses and other schools on their travel needs including designing overseas student tours and programs. Beam Travel was one of the first in its field to computerize the ticketing and reservation process over a system which would later become part of the Internet. During his years in the travel
industry Ed toured the world, having visited every continent and over 80 countries. He flew on the Pan-Am inaugural trans-Atlantic flight of the 747 and on the British Airways inaugural flight of the Concord between Washington and London. Ed Beam sold the agency and retired in 1985, and three years later he and his wife Carolyn moved to Keowee Key in South Carolina.

Throughout his life Ed Beam was active in a diverse group of social and philanthropic organizations. He achieved the level of 32 degree Mason, was a Paul Harris Fellow in Rotary, a Commander in the Ithaca Power Squadron and headed the United Way Fund in Tompkins County. Ed remained active even into his later years retiring as the President of the Resident’s Association at Bermuda Village just this past May.

Ed Beam also was an active supporter of higher education and the arts, having been a member of the Presidents Associates at St. Lawrence University, earning the Distinguished Service Award from Ithaca College, he also was a major donor to the Performing Arts Center at Cornell University and the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts at Clemson University.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Carolyn Messner Beam, and his three sons, Edward Jr. of Plymouth, Massachusetts; Daniel of Los Angeles, California and John of Burbank, California. He is also survived by his sister, Geraldine Barnard of Hemlock New York, numerous nieces and nephews and two dogs, Hannah and Freddy.

In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to:

The Chapel Fund
c/o Rev. David Burr
Bermuda Village
142 Bermuda Village Dr.
Advance, NC


Habitat for Humanity International
121 Habitat Street
Americus, GA

The interment will be at the family cemetery in Honeoye, New York. A memorial service will be held at a later date.