Beverly J. Coleman (née, Benallick), 76, died April 24, 2009 in Bar Harbor after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Beverly was born Nov. 5, 1932 in Niagara Falls, Canada, the daughter of Archibald and Violet (Henry) Benallick. During her adolescence, Beverly helped support her family by working long hours in the family owned general store. In 1950, Beverly enrolled at McMaster University and was the only woman in the class of 1954 to graduate in chemistry. During her undergraduate years, Beverly met Douglas Coleman, who would be the love of her life for the next 55 years. After marriage and graduation, Beverly and Douglas moved to Madison, Wis. where Beverly took a research position at the Forest Products Laboratory. In 1958, Douglas and Beverly moved to Seal Harbor on Mount Desert Island, where they lived for 28 years and were spoken fondly of throughout that period as “the new folks from Canada.”
In addition to raising three sons, Beverly volunteered with the Seal Harbor Village Improvement Society, the Mount Desert Island Nursing Association, for which she served as director and president, and the Northeast Harbor Library, where she spent many hours archiving various charts and other reference materials. Beverly loved the outdoors and was an avid hiker, sailor, and gardener. Starting in the 1970s, Beverly volunteered in the Wild Gardens of Acadia. Her interest in native wildflowers eventually became a passion that culminated in a commitment to land conservation. When she and Douglas moved to their waterfront home, “Mixed Woods,” in Lamoine, Beverly designed a wildflower garden that encompassed many species native to the area. A walk with Beverly through her home and garden revealed her unbridled joy in her accomplishments there and was likely to elicit the Latin names for many plant varieties. She was also interested in Native American cultures, ranging from the Inuit in the Arctic, the Mayans in Central America, to the Incas in South America.
In her later years, Beverly’s interest in forest practices and land conservation grew and she became a member and later chairman of the Down East Resource Conservation & Development Forestry Committee. She also was instrumental in placing a conservation easement on Mixed Woods to preserve it as a sustainable small woodlot and educational resource. In this regard, Beverly accomplished her lifelong commitment toward leaving things better than she found them. In 2007, Beverly was recognized for her conservation efforts by being a co-recipient of the first Conservation Award given by Lamoine.
Beverly is survived by her beloved husband, Douglas of Bar Harbor and Lamoine, Maine; her son David of Kingston, Canada; and her son Thomas, his wife Sarah Fashena, their son Benjamin, all of Mount Kisco, New York; and her sister, Jacquie, of Toronto, Canada. One son, John D. Coleman, predeceased her.
A celebration of Beverly’s life and a graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, May 22, 2009 at Seal Harbor Cemetery, Seal Harbor.
The family requests that contributions in Beverly’s memory be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 170 Rt. 1, Suite 250, Falmouth ME 04105.
Arrangements are in care of Jordan-Fernald of Mount Desert. Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com.