Terry Beach (born Betty Jean Hehl), age 91, died peacefully at her home on Edgartown Great Pond on April 17, 2012.
Terry was born August 17, 1920, in East Orange, New Jersey and grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey. She was an active alumna of Wellesley College, class of 1942, where she was president of Tau Zeta Epsilon (“Tizzy”). Many of her proudest memories centered around her Tizzy responsibilities and her endless Wellesley adventures and accomplishments. She married Warren Beach in 1944 and raised her three children in Essex Fells, New Jersey. She was the first woman to serve on the Board of Education for the Essex Fells Public School and was instrumental in the creation of the West Essex Regional High School.
Terry is most remembered for her love of painting. A talented artist, she credited much of her art education to her early days at Wellesley and graduate work at Fairleigh Dickinson University, the Newark Museum of Art, and the Sloan School of Art, where she studied with renowned artist John R. Grabach. She exhibited at the Newark Museum of Art, the Montclair Art Museum, and the American Artists Professional League, among many other galleries and museums.
Terry enjoyed summers with her young family at Turnpoint, East Chop, until one day she and Warren sailed up Wintucket Cove on Edgartown Great Pond to find Nashamoy, their home of 50 years.
Terry lived the life she loved. Raised a Christian Scientist, she surrounded herself with the healing power of nature. She loved to walk the south shore of the Island and to hike through the swamp to picnic on Jungle Beach (now known as Lucy Vincent). Inspired by the ever-changing views across the Great Pond, she painted Vineyard landscapes and still lifes. She said, “For me, painting is translating the moment onto canvas. I do it for myself because it enriches the tapestry of my life. I do it for others to ‘see’ another point of view, a different awareness of the world around us. With the act of painting comes a physical pleasure of texture, color and form growing into an image. It’s the inside self reaching the outside canvas.” Her paintings were shown at the Old Sculpin Gallery, the Field Gallery, the Art Workers Guild, the Edgartown Gallery, the Granary Gallery, and the North Shore Gallery in Gloucester, among others.
Terry and Warren later spent winters in Sebastian, Florida, at the Kashi Ashram. It was during this time of spiritual searching that she co-founded and showed her work at the Trilogy Studio in Vero Beach. She said, “My latest work is a change from oil to acrylic. It’s quick, intuitive, in the moment, like a coming home; it’s led to an adventure with collage and mixed media.”
Terry and her husband then “came home” to the Vineyard to live among family, friends, and the natural beauty of their beloved Island. She will be remembered for her beautiful blue eyes, radiant smile, and vibrant personality.
Terry is survived by her daughter, Wendy Beach-Barry, her son, Roger Beach, and his wife, Liz Henderson, of Edgartown, and five grandchildren, Emma Green-Beach, Bart Barry and his wife, Victoria, Heather Barry and her husband, Weylan Ma, Amy Barry and fiancé, Ken Wacaser, and Jacqui Barry; and by a great-granddaughter, Sophia Lily Ma. She was predeceased by her husband and by her son, Sandy.
A celebration of Terry’s life and art will be held from 3 to 6 pm on Saturday, May 12, at her home (49 Seth’s Way off Pohogonot Road; look for “Nashamoy” signs).
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the Supportive Day Program, c/o Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living, P.O. Box 1729, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.
Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown Road, Oak Bluffs. Please visit ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.