Elizabeth "Kris" (Walton) Beal, age 88, of Fredonia, NY, died Wednesday December 12, 2012 at the TLC/HN Health Care Facility in Irving, NY.
Mrs. Beal was born on Christmas Day in 1923 in Columbus, Ohio, to Mary R. and Charles W. Walton. She attended public elementary school and the progressive Campus School of Ohio State University for seventh through twelfth grades.
She married Dr. Dallas Knight Beal on June 9, 1951 in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Beal died in 2002.
Mrs. Beal earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Ohio State University, later teaching elementary methods courses in its art department. She also taught elementary school in Shelby and Bexley, Ohio; at the State University of New York at New Paltz' Campus School, and was an elementary counselor for two years at the Wheelock School in Fredonia, New York.
Mrs. Beal described her years with Dr. Beal as the "first lady" of SUNY Fredonia with great affection, and talked about their teamwork in welcoming students, faculty, staff, and community members to the President's Home and in entertaining visitors to campus.
In addition to the former SUNY Fredonia Faculty Dames, Mrs. Beal was an active volunteer and member of the League of Women Voters of Chautauqua County, the Hillman Memorial Music Association, the American Association of University Women, the Brooks Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, and the First United Methodist Church of Fredonia, where she taught Sunday school for many years.
After serving SUNY Fredonia and the College for 26 years in a progression of administrative and teaching positions, the last 14 years as President of the College, Dr. and Mrs. Beal decided retirement was in order after such a long tenure. The free time wasn't for long when professional friends from Connecticut persuaded Dr. Beal to apply for the Chancellorship of the state's four college campuses.
In 1985, Dr. Beal was named President of the Connecticut State University System, and the couple moved to Simsbury, living there for nearly 10 years. Upon his second retirement, Dr. and Mrs. Beal returned to Fredonia, and in 1996, Dr. Beal serviced as Interim President of SUNY Fredonia prior to the appointment of former SUNY Fredonia President Dennis L. Hefner. In May of 1986, Dr. and Mrs. Beal were honored by the Fredonia College Foundation with its Distinguished Service Award, recognizing a life-time of service to the University and community.
An accomplished water-colorist and teacher, Mrs. Beal's work was exhibited several times. In October 2010, her works were displayed at SUNY Fredonia's Michael C. Rockefeller Arts Center Art Gallery. Mrs. Beal was also the proprietor of Milk House Antiques in Forest-ville, NY for 10 years.
Prior to moving to Connecticut, Mrs. Beal helped spearhead the Fredonia Preservation Society's effort to save the Fredonia Village Hall and Opera House from demolition with a very dedicated committee. She has been described as a "people person" with friends of all ages, and happiest when busy and with her family. Mrs. Beal was also very involved in the 1980's effort to renovate the Fenner House after a very bad fire on the SUNY Fredonia campus, which became home of the Office of Admissions, and to help purchase period furnishings for the reception area. Mrs. Beal was instrumental in helping to acquire furnish-ings for the Stefan Zweig room in SUNY Fredonia's Reed Library and the large marble statue of "David" which resides in the inner lobby of King Concert Hall on campus.
Survivors include her daughter, Joan (Randy) Zwolak of Forestville, N.Y.; son, Jeffrey (Jerri) Beal, of Homer, NY.; grand-daughter Megan Zwolak, grandsons Brian (Kristen) Zwolak, Jason (Lorie) Beal; and great-grandchildren, Colin and Nora Beal.
In addition to her parents, and Dr. Beal, Mrs. Beal was predeceased by her brother, Charles Wesley Walton, and a grand-daughter, Jessica Mary Beal, in whose name a scholarship was established by the family through the Fredonia College Foundation. Dr. and Mrs. Beal also established the Dallas K. and Elizabeth W. Beal Award through the College Foundation and supported the Dallas K. Beal Community Access Fund, which provides tickets to art events on the SUNY Fredonia campus for lower income families.
Memorial contributions in Mrs. Beal's memory may be made to the following organizations through the Fredonia College Foundation, 272 Central Avenue, Fredonia, NY 14063: Jessica Mary Beal Scholarship, Dallas K. and Elizabeth W. Beal Award, or Dallas K. Beal Community Access Fund. Also to the Jessica Mary Beal Scholarship, c/o Homer High School, Homer, NY 13077.
A celebration of Kris' life will be held at a later date. Online condolences may be made at larsontimkofuneralhome.com.Arrangements by David J. Dengler of the LARSON-TIMKO FUNERAL HOME, Fredonia, 679-9000.