Ed Beggs remembered as generous

Edward Hunter "Ed" Beggs, Sequim's last full-time mayor, was extremely generous with both his time and money during the 34 years he lived here and remained gracious -- even after voters opted to replace his position with a city manager - his friends recall.

Beggs died June 22 in Portland, Ore. In 2006, he had moved with his wife to Vancouver to be closer to his daughter who lives there.

He was remembered for his friendly demeanor and willingness to help people as well as for serving the city during a period of rapid growth.

Beggs was elected as

Sequim's full-time mayor in November 1987 and again in November 1991.

Then, effective in 1996, the voters opted for a council-manager form of government with the mayor's position being largely ceremonial.

Beggs served the city when the U.S. Highway 101 bypass project was being planned, signed the sister city agreement with Yamasaki, Japan, and moved the Sequim Police Department to its current location in the Sequim Village Center.

Beggs' community involvement included the Exchange Club, Chamber of Commerce, Museum and Arts Center and Trinity United Methodist Church. He received the Paul Harris Award from the Sequim Sunrise Rotary Club of which he was a founding member.

"He was a very dear friend and a great person," said retired public works director and good friend Jim Bay.

"He loved cars, loved airplanes, loved working.

"He was a very, very, good mayor for Sequim. He took us out of the red and into the black. He was a really great person, did a lot for the community.

"He was never selfish with his time and effort to do something for somebody else."

Richard Parker worked with Beggs during his 22-year tenure as public works superintendent and remembered him as a good boss.

"I thoroughly enjoyed working with him. He was just a super neat guy," he said.

"He was a very good businessman. He did a good job and it was a pleasure to work with him.

"He was a quiet man but had a lot of backbone. He wasn't afraid to take on an issue head on."

Bill Thomas succeeded Beggs as mayor in 1996. He said the change in city government was the result of the changing city and not anything that Beggs did or didn't do.

"I think Ed got caught in a big change at the time. He was a victim of circumstance, not his job as mayor," Thomas said.

"He was always right there to give advice. He stayed involved with the council through my tenure and we relied upon him for advice.

"He worked hard in the community and was extremely generous with his money and his time. He was always willing to help people."

City Councilor Paul McHugh, a 40-year Sequim resident, said his main recollection of Beggs was that he was the last strong mayor.

"He governed during a time when we were facing a lot of growth in the area. I think he did great job of leading the city through that time.

"He had a real heart for the community and for activities around the Irrigation Festival.

City Councilor Walt Schubert, himself a former mayor, said Beggs did a good job of handling the city during a time when it was experiencing growing pains much like those of a child.

"He was mayor during a time when the town was growing and he had a tough job. He had a business going and also was mayor of the town. Being mayor was different then; it was like being a city manager now."

Beggs was born July 3, 1917, in Seattle to Hunter and Lora Beggs. He grew up in Nespelem in eastern Washington where he graduated from high school and married Marcia Brittain.

It also was where he began his business career with a Chevron service station.

The Beggses moved to Wenatchee in 1959, and Ed started a new career running an International Harvester dealership for 18 years.

Ed and Marcia moved to Sequim in 1972 after he retired, and Ed operated

Sequim Valley Auto Parts from 1974-1986.

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