Warren Beamish

Obituary of Warren Delacour Beamish

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Warren Delacour Beamish, age 86, of Enfield, Nova Scotia, passed away suddenly and peacefully on December 15, 2023 in Colchester East Hants Health Centre, Truro.  Born in Toronto, he was one of two sons of the late Bernard and Nora (Rogers) Beamish.  


He is survived by his children, Wendy (Jeff) Menczel, Stephanie Alakas and Brian Beamish; granddaughter, Caitlin (Colin) Menczel-O’Neill, sister-in-law, Christine Beamish, Trinity, NL; nephews, Nick (Krista) Beamish and his children, Clara and Jack; and Tim (Petra) Beamish and his children, Kira and Isaac.

Warren described himself as a father of three incredible children, immensely proud of their life efforts and choices. Relations with his children changed throughout his life and during his final chapter in Nova Scotia he recounted many cherished and loving memories involving all three.  

He was predeceased by his loving partner, Shirley (Black) Von Haven, and his brother, Peter Beamish.  A private service has been held.

The family would like to thank the staff of Parkland Truro, and The Magnolia, Enfield - especially staff serving Sand Dollar Cottage - for their excellent care during Warren’s residency in Nova Scotia, and would like to acknowledge the nurses, doctors and hospital staff at the Colchester East Hants Health Centre for their kind attention before Warren’s passing.

Memorial donations may be made to Ridley College, St. Catharines, Ontario.

Tributes, words of comfort and memories of Warren may be shared with the family at www.ettingerfuneralhome.com.


Warren attended Ridley College in St. Catharines 1947-1956 and University of Toronto, graduating Engineering Physics, 1961. He embraced life wholeheartedly at both schools, especially when it came to extracurriculars, making a name for himself - Big Beam at Ridley - in two arenas Warren frequented throughout his life: sports and politics. He was more apt to talk about these, or his three years as an executive officer for ‘Phi Kappa Pi’ (he was also on the Engineering Society Executive), than class, which friends remember came easily to him, but he proudly wore his Iron Ring every day since his graduation from Engineering Physics in 1961.


Warren described himself as an Engineering Entrepreneur, and his life’s work reflected this.  For fifty years his work was creating and marketing sophisticated electronic systems to solve business problems. His first, and one of two resounding successes in the tech/business world came when he lived in Ottawa, where, with Robert Horwood he co-founded Computel. Incorporated in 1967, Computel was the first Canadian company to offer remote computer services using terminals connected to a centralized computer network.  Through a merger, Warren became International VP of The University Computing Company, 1969-1971. He oversaw initiating several UCC international technology ventures. By mid 1970s, the company grew into one of Canada's largest and most successful computer-based service companies offering its business throughout North America with its utility centers across Canada (Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Victoria) and the United States (Los Angeles, Miami, Mountain View, Santa Clara).  For many, this would have been enough - Computel was the first Canadian computer-based company listed on the TSX and, at the time, this made Warren the youngest president of any TSX listed company.


Never one to settle, or coast on his own coat tails, Warren chose this moment of his life to leave Texas, returning to Toronto, to pursue another road altogether. Politics was second nature to Warren.  At U of T he was Chairman of the University Debating Union, active in Model Parliament and served on the Hart House Boards. One of his many awards was a University of Toronto Students Administrative Honours Award.  Even in semi-retirement living near Burnt River in the Kawarthas, Ontario, Warren found his way into the 4 Mile Lake Association, door to door canvassing for local Conservative candidates in the 2000s.   Somehow, wherever he was, Warren found a way back to politics.  And no year was more important to this part of Warren’s life than 1972.  As he would frequently reminisce, a key moment in Canadian politics, one in which he had an interesting, and not insignificant part.  It was the election in which Pierre Trudeau narrowly defeated Robert Stanfield.  Warren’s part took place in Rosedale, Toronto, where he ran against Donald S. McDonald.  It was close…, maybe not as close as Warren would have you believe!, but close nevertheless. and an equally key moment in his own life.  If he, and Stanfield had won, Warren would likely have been in Cabinet for Science and Technology!


He did, nevertheless, have the opportunity to serve in this field, serving as an Engineering Consultant with the Engineering Society of Ontario, including providing Nuclear Industry guidelines for the provincial government’s EMR.


Warren’s ambitions now returned to his entrepreneurial roots, where, once again, he benefited from his technological skills and vision. This time his focus was the Food and Hospitality Industry.  First, Warren opened Egerton’s Restaurant and Tavern, at 70 Gerrard Street E., a student hangout and folk-music club, on the northeast corner of Gerrard and Church Streets in Toronto. Licensed as a “listening room” and required to sell food, Egerton’s was open seven days a week, sold cheap beer, and booked live performers.  This is where his unique skill-set made a difference.  A difference which profoundly impacted the restaurant industry, and, ultimately, retail selling across the board.  Warren created an electronic system to organize inventory against orders placed, sales and revenue for businesses in the hospitality industry.  In layman's terms he created the first company to bring Data Based computer technology (a handheld system enabling servers to place orders directly from the table to the kitchen and track inventory)  to the service restaurant Industry,  Remanco Systems - originally Cremanco, was created in 1976 and is still widely in use today. 4   It was a visionary forerunner in eliminating cash registers used in restaurant management.  It was a point of pride for Warren that he was included in International Press’ Who’s Who in Canada, 1980 - 1981, and Cremanco / Remanco is the reason this happened.  As Intel published, in 1980, “Remanco was the first Canadian manufactured commercial 8086 microprocessor based product to gain an International profile.” Warren continued as chairman of Remanco and in the mid 1980’s relocated to Southern California, a prime market for this technology and started building his company Senelco Inc. Senelco quickly became Remanco’s largest and most profitable dealer. Three years later he sold the California business back to Remanco’s new owners. He remained active in several Point-of-Sale and lease financing opportunities in partnership with MFP.


In the new millennium, challenging the payment industry became Warren’s focus, a final entrepreneurial challenge for his golden years. Once again, he was - arguably, ahead of his time.  Working with a software development team, Warren spearheaded a new electronic payment solution/product - ‘Pay Me, Pay You’ - built around the unique Canadian interbank payment facilities.  The goal was a working system to make small electronic payments viable - as Warren would explain: using this system a reader could pay 2 cents to read a single article from a newspaper.  Remember, this was the very early 2000s.  And, the technology itself was rigorously tested and demonstrated. Investors were interested.  The challenge was convincing the Canadian government, and, more importantly, the banks, to buy into the idea.  And, of course, time was ticking, and other technologies were on the horizon.  Warren’s response to the failure: “We would have been off to the races big time.  Oh well, life goes on, eh.  Gave fifteen plus shareholders a great tax loss carry forward.”  Vintage Warren!  Makes me laugh and cry.  Simultaneously.

In some respects this was Warren’s second coming.  This time two of his passions were wed.  Technology, entrepreneurial opportunity, and, of course,  politics.  And Warren reveled in it.  Obviously, he knew it was a long shot.  He believed in it though, and enjoyed every moment of the effort it took to bring it to life.  He met with the Finance Minister, and all six major banking presidents, and made his best pitch.  Ultimately, of course, convincing the banks to adopt a new and unproven payment system to replace their own was more than a Sisyphean task, nonetheless, an effort he most certainly never regretted.


Warren’s energies and ambitions were also shifting at this time.  This time, in an altogether new direction.  True, he was still interested in technology and marketing, and he still hoped to profit and make a difference in the world.  Hence he put much of his remaining assets into a company in Oakville hoping its innovations in battery technology would take the lead in the “coming world of electrically powered cars”.  It is important to remember, this is the early 2000s, not 2023.  Also, he continued to consult with individuals looking to publicly finance their venture projects throughout the remaining years of his life. One of his final business endeavours was to start Prysmic Inc., a consulting firm that specialized in creating custom marketing strategies for clients. With a focus on strategic planning and leadership training, he helped clients reach and surpass business goals, located in St Catharines, Ontario.  His focus, though, had truly shifted, and, of course, he was now in his golden years.  Not that you’d know it, talking to him.  What you would know, though, inescapably, was that he loved Shirley.  


Warren loved life. He was always active.  He played many sports at school and his life-long hobbies included bridge (he was a Grand Life Master), squash and sailing.  He was, in fact, an elite sailor - with Olympic aspirations!, and, in his 70s, he was still taking a Finn out on 4 Mile Lake! Enjoying the great outdoors was second nature for Warren (Wendy’s cherished memories include summers at his cottage near Gatineau, Quebec (in the winter, she remembers they had to ski from the side road to reach it).  In his later years tennis grew in importance, and not just because Shirley played too.  


The love of the last quarter of his life though, undoubtedly, was Shirley (Black) von Haven.  The two met online, May of 2000, and immediately became inseparable.  

They spent 21 years loving and supporting each other through better and worse, sickness and health,  until Shirley’s sudden passing in 2021. Warren and Shirley spent their time between his residences at Four Mile Lake in the Kawarthas of Ontario, their water side apartment in St. Catharines, Ontario and her home in Niceville, Florida. Warren and Shirley were true soul mates. 


Perversely, they were trapped by health care.  Warren, of course, was Canadian.  His health care was covered.  Shirley’s first husband was an officer in the American military, so her health care was too.  This meant they could be together, but they couldn’t “run away together”.  And then Covid happened.  Warren fell.  Three times.  Of course, he didn’t tell anyone.  Other people taking care of him had never been part of the plan.  The third time, though, left him incapacitated at Florida Twin Cities Hospital.  And so, he had to come “home”.  The quotations are for Warren, for at this time, home for Warren was where Shirley was.  And, very sadly, this was no longer possible.


He did make it back though.  And, it’s just a little bit of an overstatement to call this a “Covid miracle”.  A near hurricane nearly ground his plane in Charlotte - keep in mind, Warren’s hip was broken and he was immobile - but the plane made it, and Wendy met him at Pearson.  Needless to say, Warren was taken straight to hospital.  He spent four months at Oakville Trafalgar MH before finally making it to family in Nova Scotia.  Now diagnosed with mid-stage Alzhiemer’s disease, Warren found a new home in Atlantic Canada.  It was hard for him.  He was very conscious of his declining capacities.  Frequently, he would forget, and call Wendy to talk about plans they had to make for where he was going and what he had to get done.  Those who knew Warren, will recognize this.  He was always making plans and preparing for the next great venture.

Also, take comfort.  For though he missed Shirley - she had passed, but he had trouble remembering this, and he asked about her weekly - he was loved, and he knew this.  He lived a few minutes from his eldest daughter and spent much of his time with her, with frequent visits, and, thanks to the East Hants Community Rider, visited her home in Enfield every week.  “No Warren, I still haven’t taken down that tree.  Maybe next week.”  Cards, puzzles, sports (he came to life whenever he had a chance to hope for a Canadian hockey team, golfer or tennis player) and, of course, time with Wendy filled this chapter of his life.  His granddaughter’s wedding was the last big event, and he loved every minute of it.  One of his last complaints was, “when are we getting ‘real’ pictures from the wedding?


Until his very last breath, Warren squeezed every bit he could out of what he knew was important in life.  We will always remember this, and remember you, Warren, grandpa, dad.




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Warren Beamish

In Loving Memory

Warren Beamish

1937 - 2023

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