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John Beales Way unveiled

Naming a perimeter road at Langley Regional Airport after a pioneer may not be everyone’s idea of an appropriate tribute, but if that pioneer is John Beales, it could not be more fitting.

His widow, Marge, their seven sons and one daughter gathered at the airport on Sept. 13, to unveil a sign on John Beales Way, which runs parallel to 56 Avenue and is reached via 213A Street.

A Lancaster bomber navigator during the war, Beales, the former Township mayor, was an aviation buff who earned his wings when he was in his 50s and held his licence for more than 20 years, his son, Bruce, said.

His father would have loved the tribute, his son added.

“He was a vocal champion of the airport,” Bruce Beales said.

For many years, Beales ran a steel manufacturing business in Fernridge and later ran another enterprise, Double J Aviation, at the airport.

Beales served as a Langley school trustee, and in 1984 ran for mayor, missing election by a mere 50 votes.

He contested the mayor’s chair again in 1987 and 1990, winning on both occasions.

He died on June 30, 2003, at the age of 78.

Councillor Steve Ferguson was on council during Beales’ tenure.

Beales didn’t suffer fools gladly, Ferguson said.

“John did use the gavel — and I actually think he broke one or two.”

Ferguson mentioned some oft-repeated remarks that Beales liked to make: “Langley was a great place before the people came,” and, to those opposing a development, “What field or farm was bulldozed to build your house while you oppose someone building another just across the street?”

And a few others: “I can’t believe we’re still discussing this,” and “What a bunch of whiners and complainers.”

Mayor Jack Froese paid tribute to Beales’ contributions to the airport, noting that it had become a “phenomenal” enterprise.

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