Amherst Magazine

Christopher N. Beal ’67

Christopher N. Beal ’67 died May 12, 2011.
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Christopher Nigel Houston Beal died on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at his home in Leeds, Massachusetts at the age of 65. Chris was born in Great Neck, New York, the son of Michael Albany Wallis Beal and Janet Scott Houston Beal, on October 29, 1945. A 1963 graduate of St. Andrews School in Delaware, and Amherst College (Class of 1967), Chris served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve for 6 years. He was a voracious reader, a middling golfer, and a keen observer and commentator on politics and society. In recent years, failing health limited his mobility, but he retained his lifelong interest in nature and wildlife.

Interment will be in the family plot in Great Neck, New York, at a later date.




The Class of ’67 lost one of its most colorful members in May 2011. Chris Beal carried a number of nicknames and was the subject of many hilarious anecdotes during his time at Amherst. A constant fixture at the Beta bar, Chris could be counted on to keep the tap flowing and the conversation lurching from the intellectual to the profane.

He began his Amherst career as a member of the notorious Pratt South Entry crew. His move across the street to Beta was a natural. His selection of English as his major reflected his wide reading and intellectual curiosity.

He was a regular at the Beta bridge table, bringing a fabled brusque reaction to a bad hand being dealt to him, the “Beal pass.”

Chris regularly carried the wares of the Beta Sandwich Man through the dormitories, bellowing “sandwiches, grinders, milk, brownies!” with greater resonance than any of his contemporaries.

He is the only known member of the class to have a chant hijacked and composed around his nickname. That chant will probably drift softly through the twilight at our 45th Reunion.

Perhaps his greatest caper was transferring the entire drum kit from the Psi U winter house party band to the Beta living room on a cold, snowy night. The drummer had apparently run headlong into a tree in the yard and had gone home without it. The Beta brothers had the good fortune of awakening at sunrise to the syncopations produced by Chris in the living room.

After Amherst, Chris dropped from sight. He materialized at a class reunion about 15 years ago, a self-described “printer’s devil” at the Northampton newspaper, seeming to be enjoying life and looking remarkably unchanged from 1967.

The world is a little less interesting today, in the post-Beal era.

—George Fleming ’67

—John Fitchen ’67

—Al Damus ’67

—Bruce Grean ’67

—Joe Kimble ’67


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