Michael N. Beers

12/28/1943 - 3/19/2024


Michael (Mike) Norman Beers, a long-time resident of Port Townsend, passed away on March 19th, surrounded by loved ones. He was 80 years old. Mike was born in Seattle on December 28, 1943, to Roger and Millie Beers. The youngest of four children, he grew up in the Beacon Hill/Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle and attended St. George Elementary. Mike graduated from O’Dea High school in 1961 as a stellar pupil and captain of the basketball team. In 1963 he married Carol Ann Byers of Seattle; they had four children born between 1964 and 1969, during the height of the peace movement. A civil rights warrior himself, Mike took a particular stand against segregation. After settling in the Wallingford area with his young family, Mike continued his education at Seattle University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in 1966. During this time in Seattle, he worked for Boeing, “Ma Bell,” and later as a case worker for DSHS. In this role, Mike found his vocational calling.

Mike loved the outdoors, and that became the center of family time, including hiking, camping, fishing, and spending time together at the Beers family cabin on Whidbey Island. Carol and Mike divorced in the early ‘70s: while Carol eventually raised two of the kids in Canada, Mike remained in the Seattle area with the other two kids while continuing his education. He obtained a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Washington in 1978 and moved the family to Port Townsend shortly thereafter to take a job at Community Counseling Services. He remained in Port Townsend ever since.

Mike dedicated his life to advocacy of the young and the old. He worked at Kah Tai Care Center, Olympic Area Agency on Aging, and in private-practice counseling. Ultimately he was considered a community expert in the area of Alzheimer’s and aging. He was instrumental in establishing the local Hospice program, which was integral in providing him care and comfort in his own final days. Mike concluded his working career on the other end of the spectrum, in child welfare and family services, as long-time director for Jefferson County’s Guardian Ad Litem program.

Mike was introduced to Ruth Bray Kershbaum by their respective daughters in 1987, and the two remained a loving, devoted, and colorful couple since that time, marrying in January 2000. Together, Mike and Ruth enjoyed travel, adventures in Mexico, playing “Hand-and-Foot” with friends, and orchestrating the annual family camping trips which became the social hub of the close-knit family and extended family for decades. Forever a fisherman, Mike’s other passions were race-walking, writing satirical commentary on politics, scouring local beaches for treasures to perfect in his rock polisher or to add to his art projects. Mike (aka Captain Arnold) was among the original Road Warriors of ‘80s fame which frequented parades around the Puget Sound. Mike was a lifelong learner and writer, dabbling in comic strips, political doggerel, essays, research, and civil rights activism. He enjoyed studying about local Native tribes; he amassed an extensive civil rights library which he eventually passed off to the schools; towards  the end of his life, he took courses in geology. Mike was an excellent listener and conversationalist and was always interested in the stories of people during travel and at home. Above all, Mike treasured time with his large extended family. He was an active, involved and revered husband, father, brother, uncle, grandfather, and friend.

Mike shone as a supportive and dedicated grandfather to 27 grandchildren and step- grandchildren. He and Ruth spent decades hustling coast to coast to gymnastics meets, swim and track meets, piano and ballet recitals, rowing regattas, soccer, lacrosse and hockey matches, basketball and baseball games, birthday parties, school events. He attended their births, adoption ceremonies, graduations and weddings. He babysat, tutored, employed, counseled, and celebrated them. As their biggest fan, Mike made an outsized impression on the lives of his grandchildren, and he will be sorely missed by each.

Mike was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers David and Richard (Dick) Beers, and sister Barbara Cronin. He is survived by his wife Ruth Beers of Port Townsend, children Sharon (Peter) McCracken of Port Townsend, Jeanne (Michael) Lerhe of Victoria BC, Joseph (Karen) Beers of Poulsbo, Anne (Michael) Beers of Port Townsend, and Molly Kershbaum Walker of Port Townsend/Dallas, TX, and his enormous clan of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life is planned for Sunday, May 19th at 2:00 pm at the Friends Barn in Fort Townsend. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider donating to Jefferson Healthcare Hospice Foundation.

Mike’s family would like to thank Dr. Ator, Dr. Crowell, and Jefferson Healthcare ACU, Palliative Care, and Hospice teams for their compassionate, professional care. You made a difference.