John Edward Bearden 4/30/31 - 7/7/23
Our father was one of the wisest and kindest men I’ve personally known. He was soft-spoken, humble and careful with his words. He never believed he had all the answers, was an avid reader and perpetual learner. He had a strong mind for sorting and storing knowledge and making sense of things, and with this he was always open to change, to new ideas and to new ways of thinking, even at the age of ninety. His faith carried him through life’s hardships and losses, along with his steadfast love and partnership with our mother. He was sure in his belief that he never walked alone. Our father grew up in a house of humble means where farming and factory work carried his family through the depression. It was through this lens that he learned the importance of hard work. He carried this work ethic with him his entire life. He worked construction to pay his way through college and graduated from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in 1954 with a degree in Civil Engineering. He spent most of his years as a design and consulting engineer with design projects spanning water treatment facilities, water and water tower systems, dams, highways and bridges and held the roll of Ham Lake City Engineer for many years. He also worked in development where he had the unique experience of developing RV country clubs which, when originally designed, were intended for young families, and designed around golf courses, clubhouses, swimming pools, tennis courts, and activity buildings. Paid in lots within the development he could sell, he decided to keep one at Travelers Country Club on the Mississippi, which we enjoyed for twenty-fivish years. There are just so many good stories from our time spent there, many involving questionable parenting choices that would land today’s parents on some sort of watch list. For example, our parents would drop us at a bridge up the Mississippi a distance with tractor tire inner tubes and we’d float down the river, which in those parts was deep, wide, and fast. If you weren’t very strong, you’d struggle paddling to shore upon site of the Club. Fortunately, Julie, still elementary school age, was a strong swimmer. Our father could do it all, no project was too large and no skill off the table, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, structural, construction, all of it. And if he didn’t know how to do something, by-golly, he’d figure it out. Perseverance. Our father had perseverance. And patience, the patience of a saint. Our father, always a planner, was able to retire from his role as President and CEO of Comstock and Davis Engineering & Land Surveying at the young age of sixty, allowing him more time to pursue his many other interests which included international travel, golf, stain glass window making, photography, wood working, hunting for treasures with our mother at “Banks” and flea markets, gardening, endless home projects, babysitting his twelve grandchildren and of course helping us kids with our new-home projects, more than a few of them ill-conceived. We can hear him now, “Garsh, you kids,” he’d say as he hauled all his tools up the sidewalk with a smile on his face. So, for “us kids” our dads do-it-yourself mentality was pretty great. When we needed to replace water heaters, a furnace, pour concrete, or redo any electrical or plumbing, our dad was there with his tools (our mom with a meal in tow) teaching as he’d go. He was always ready to help with projects whether for us kids, his friends, or our parents beloved Aldrich Presbyterian Church conveniently located ten blocks straight north of our home. He spent a lot of time at Aldrich working on projects, singing in the choir (he was a strong bass), teaching Sunday School, preaching, bible studying, and serving many years as an elder. Upon retirement, one of his great feats was designing and building his own backyard workshop. It had all the bells and whistles and the best tools. Let’ just say he engineered it to the max. After some help from us kids pouring the concrete slab, he completed the rest on his own, creating pully systems to move things onto the roof as well as any other systems necessary for him to complete the project in his own way and in his own time. With retirement, he and our mother were also able to start wintering in Scottsdale where they had many friends and no shortage of fun. Dad was always game for anything. He loved listening to classical guitar music, Waylon, Willie, and Johnny and he loved to dance. He was an excellent sous chef in the kitchen, which was a big job with our mom. Canning alone could eat up weeks. Our father was one of two children, and unfortunately when our father was 37, he lost his brother Jerry, 26, to a drunk driver. Our dear father was recently preceded in death by our beloved mother, Esther, and is survived by his four children: Joel (Sharon) Bearden, Tim Bearden, Amy (Doug) Wilde, Julie (Ken) Peterson, and twelve grandchildren: Rachel, Jack, Josh, and Anna Bearden; Libby (Tyler) Samuel; Emily, Sarah, and Grace Wilde; and Luke, Isaac, Hannah, and Abigail Peterson. He is also preceded in death by brother-in-laws and sister-in-laws: Florence Mae and Dale Snipes, Jim Martin, George Heronimus, and Joanne Duba, and survived by brother-in-law and sister-in-laws: Phyllis Heronimus, Dale and Shirley Martin, Lucille Seid, and Pat Martin, and Niece: Tami Timmons. Dad and Mom, we think of you often and miss you greatly. If love could have saved you, you’d still be here. A memorial service will be held Tuesday, July 25 at 11:00 am at the Lakewood Memorial Chapel, 3600 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, preceded by a visitation at 10:00 am. A luncheon at the adjacent Garden Mausoleum reception area will follow the service.
Minneapolis, MN 612-861-6088