Clark honors late music man Dale Beacock

Building renamed for dedicated musician, teacher, businessman

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter

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photoSusan Beacock, former wife of the late Dale Beacock, speaks Friday at the dedication of the Clark College music building in his name.

(/The Columbian)

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Dale Beacock influenced a lot of young lives in the Clark College music building.

It didn't end when class was over. If a student had nowhere else to go at the end of the day, the young musician might wind up staying at Dale and Susan Beacock's house.

"At times, we had students living at our home — for a few days or a few weeks. Things like that happened a lot," Susan Beacock said.

"We didn't have that much, but we had a couch and food. They knew they could come to him and he wouldn't blow them off," she said. She added that her former husband took it "way beyond the job description."

That says a lot, because it was a pretty expansive job description. If it involved music — playing, teaching, directing or just about any other aspect — Dale Beacock was right in the middle of it.

And that's why a new name for the Clark College music building was unveiled Friday. It's now Beacock Music Hall.

The ceremony offered an opportunity to look back on Beacock's life, which ended in a bicycling accident on Aug. 4, 2011; he was 81.

Before moving to Clark College, Beacock taught at several local schools, including Fort Vancouver High School.

"It was a tough high school, but music brought everybody together," said Patti Keller Perigo.

Occasionally, Perigo said, she would have to call Beacock to cancel a music lesson because her family didn't have the money.

"He told me to come anyway, and I might do some baby-sitting," Perigo said. She was at the event with two friends who also were Trapper musicians, Debbie Kellett-Lindland and Barbara Camp Kelley.

"Dale was part of everything," Kellett-Lindland said. Even after they both left Fort,

"I'd run into him at lots of activities."

Al Aldridge, the Clark women's basketball coach, said that Beacock's band classes at Fort Vancouver helped prepare him for a successful career.

"Dale was a coach," said Aldridge, who had a long career as the Prairie band teacher and also coached the Falcons girls basketball team to sixstate championships. "The competitive spirit I learned, I learned from Dale.

"Work ethic, attention to detail: I picked that up from him," Aldridge said.

Beacock spent 15 years as band director at Clark College before retiring to focus on the family music business, now owned by Dale and Susan's children, Russ Beacock and Gayle Beacock.

But he kept coming back to Clark College for a variety of events.

April Duvic, a professor of vocal music, said that she and Beacock were frequent collaborators in musical theater productions.

Starting in 1992, "We teamed up on 13 shows at Clark College and around the community. He was an example of a dedicated musician who continued to hone his craft," Duvic said.

Beacock also continued to support young Clark College musicians.

Richard Inouye, director of bands, passed along a story from Clark orchestra director Don Appert. The orchestra didn't have any A clarinets, so Appert rounded up enough money to buy one.

"Dale delivered one, and he had a second clarinet under his arm," Inouye said.

Beacock told Appert: You really need two of these.

Tom Vogt: 360-735-4558; http://twitter.com/col_history;tom.vogt@columbian.com.