Virginia June (Wetherell) Beasley
It is with great sadness that the family of Virginia June Beasley, 86, of Flagstaﬀ, Arizona, fondly known to many as June, passed away from natural causes on August 24, in Tucson, Arizona with family by her side.
June was born to Minnie and Damon Wetherell on January 3, 1932 in Zanesville, Ohio. She graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and a Master of Arts degree in English from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. She later earned a Master of Science degree in botany from the University of Wyoming in Laramie. While a graduate student at the University of Wyoming, she was employed for several years at The New York Botanical Garden, helping write and research the multi-volume set of books, ‘The Wildﬂowers of the United States’. She was responsible for identifying several hundred dried plant specimens which had been collected in the 1940s in Northwestern Arizona, Utah, and Nevada.
June pursued doctoral study in American studies at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and in botany at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, California, and at Columbia University, New York City. At Claremont she met her future husband, Richard Evans Beasley, who was also a graduate student there. They were married in 1963 in Manhattan, New York. In 1968 they moved to Flagstaﬀ, where he had accepted a position at Northern Arizona University, and where they raised two sons Eric and Mark.
June was an avid gardener, loved books and was a voracious reader. She enjoyed traveling both domestically and abroad. She and her husband traveled widely throughout Canada, from Alberta to British Columbia in the West to the maritime provinces in the East, including the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec. They also traveled to South Africa where they spent nearly a month. While he was on a 6-month sabbatical in 1977, the family lived in London, England. In more recent years, June took river cruises on the Rhine and Danube Rivers, and returned to South Africa.
While in Flagstaﬀ, June was employed for a number of years as an administrative assistant at NAU. She was also a volunteer at The Arboretum, conducting wildﬂower walks and teaching classes on plant identification. She derived great pleasure from sharing her knowledge of plants with others who were interested. She was a member of the Native Plant Society of Arizona and an honorary member of the Calligraphic Society of Arizona (Phoenix), the Western Reserve Calligraphers Guild (Cleveland), and the Alphabeas Calligraphy Guild (British Columbia, Canada).
June is preceded in death by her parents, Minnie and Damon Wetherell; and her husband Richard Evans Beasley. She is survived by her brother Ron Wetherell of Florida; sister Deanna Russell of Nevada; son Eric Beasley, daughter-in-law Christina, grandchildren Tate and Marlah of Tucson; son Mark Beasley, daughter-in law Leanne, grandchildren Rensler and Adelaide of Colorado.
A memorial service for June is planned for late Fall, in Flagstaﬀ. For contact information on the memorial service you can call 970-946-0225.