Obituary for Dr. Francis Alfred Beer, M.D.
Dr. Francis Alfred Beer, a long-time resident of Waltham, MA, passed away peacefully surrounded by family, Tuesday the 23rd of January 2018 at Benchmark Senior Living in Robbins Brook in Acton, MA.
Frank leaves his son Peter and his wife Jessica Beer of Westford, MA, daughter Lisa O'Shea and her wife Georgann John of Fairport, NY and daughter Lori Beer of Poughkeepsie, NY. He also leaves a brother Lawrence and his wife Lyn Beer of Virginia and a brother Ernest Beer of Marlboro, MA and his companion Pamela Strauss of Marlboro, MA. In addition, he leaves behind 4 grandchildren: Cory, Jacob, Max and Bretta.
Frank was born March 29, 1934 in Berlin, Germany to parents Freda Schnabel Beer and Peter J. O. Beer. He graduated 11th in his class from Harvard University in Cambridge, MA in 1955, was Phi Beta Kappa and a member of the diving team. He went onto Yale Medical School, graduated in 1959 and was recognized by Charles Lindbergh for his ground-breaking research on Kidney transplants. Dr. Beer practiced medicine for 43 years. In his first year of medical school he worked at Griffin Hospital in Derby, CT in 1956 and did his residency at the Grace-New Haven Community Hospital in CT from 1960 to 1963. He then became a General Surgeon at Laconia Hospital in NH in 1965. He also served in the reserves as a Captain of the Medical Corps in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged in 1969. In 1970 Frank returned to his home town of Waltham, MA and worked at Waltham Hospital as a General Surgeon and then as an Emergency Room Physician until his retirement in 2004.
He and his parents emigrated from Germany in 1935 and settled in Waltham MA. Frank was the first son of two well-known doctors in the Waltham area: Family Physician Dr. Peter J.O. Beer and Pediatrician Dr Freda Schnabel Beer. Both parents brought with them and shared medical advances from Germany and practiced out of their home on Main Street in Waltham while his father also worked at Waltham Hospital. As the great-grandson of famous German painter, Peter Janssen, Frank studied art early in life and was an accomplished painter. After receiving an award from the Boston Globe recognizing him for his artistic talents, he briefly considered becoming an artist. After thoughtful consideration he instead decided to follow in his parents’ footsteps and pursue a career in medicine. In 1956 while working nights as a first year Yale med student at Griffin Hospital in Derby, CT, one of the head nurses introduced Frank to her daughter; Gwendoline Kendall of Seymour CT. The two became friends and in Gwen's words "she chased him until he caught her". Gwen and Frank were married June 21, 1957 in Seymour. The couple moved to New Haven, CT where they had a son and then twin daughters. In 1965, the family moved to Laconia, NH. In 1970 the family returned to Frank's hometown of Waltham, MA where he became a General Surgeon at Waltham Hospital. His beloved wife of 60 years passed on peacefully just six days before Frank. They are now reunited and a testament that true love knows no bounds.
In his earlier years, Frank enjoyed swimming, painting, and playing guitar. As a teenager he enjoyed becoming an Eagle Scout and was a member of the Order of The Arrow. After he married, his recreation included canoeing with his wife Gwen and dog "Lady" in NH and family vacations in the summer to York Beach, Maine. Frank was quite the philosopher and enjoyed discussing world history around the dinner table with his brother Ernie and whoever could bear to listen. He was always looking at the bigger picture. He had a good sense of humor and a deep affinity for chocolates and sweets. Frank was intelligent and an exceptional surgeon. He loved medicine and was well respected and valued by the people with whom he worked as well as the community he served. After retiring from medicine at the age of 70, Frank continued his interest in computers and spent many hours creating and archiving the family genealogy. He was a good father, loyal brother, caring grandfather, and a devoted husband and caregiver, especially towards the end of Gwen's life.
A memorial service will be held for Frank and his wife Gwen on Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. in the Acton Funeral Home in Acton, MA. Their ashes will be laid to rest privately at the Beer Family plot at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA. Memorial gifts in Frank's memory can be made to your local hospice care center or animal shelter.