UPEI expresses sympathy on the passing of lecturer Boyde Beck

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The entire University of Prince Island Island community was saddened to hear of the passing of historian and UPEI sessional lecturer Boyde Beck on Tuesday, July 18, from complications associated with pancreatic cancer.

He died at his summer home in Cable Head East at the age of 56.

Beck was a historical research officer with the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation and a long-time lecturer with UPEI’s Department of History.

Dean of Arts Neb Kujundzic said, “There is a deep sense of irreplaceable loss in the Faculty of Arts. Boyde has been a long-standing and valuable lecturer in the History department. So many of his students and his colleagues will treasure his legacy at the University of Prince Edward Island.”

He was also well known for the stories of Island history he told on CBC Radio over a period of nearly 25 years. Beck’s 30-year career with the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation encompassed a wide range of experiences including curating exhibits at Island museums; managing sites at Green Park, Basin Head, and Beaconsfield; and editing the Island Magazine. He also wrote several books, the latest being Prince Edward Island: The (Un) Authorized History and Callbeck’s of Bedeque: A Century of Island Enterprise.

Dr. Ed MacDonald, chair and professor in the Department of History, considered Beck a brother. While being interviewed on CBC PEI’s Mainstreet, he said, “Boyde had a knack of inspiring people to love history.” MacDonald remembers, “Boyde always said that he was ‘just a storyteller,’ and he certainly believed that history could only influence people if it focused on the ‘story’ part of the word history, but he was much more than a storyteller. He was a gifted writer and editor as well, who grasped that how we tell our stories has as almost as much impact as what stories we tell. As a lecturer, it was amazing how he could tell stories with objects. With his museum expertise, he enabled artifacts to speak on their own and demonstrate that history is a living thing.”

“We can’t ask the world to stop on account of Boyde’s passing,” Dr. MacDonald added, “but we can ask it to slow down to give us a chance to remember him.”

UPEI extends condolences to Boyde Beck’s beloved wife Anna MacDonald (AVC external relations officer and UPEI communications officer); extended members of the Beck and MacDonald families; and his many dear friends and colleagues. Flags will be lowered to half-mast in his memory until Monday, July 24.

Visitation is at the Belvedere Funeral Home from 2–5 pm on Sunday, July 23 with the funeral taking place in the chapel on Monday, July 24 at 1:30 pm. Read the obituary


Nicole Phillips
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