Henry Ward and Doris Beecher

Henry Ward Beecher (1917 – 1996) and Doris P. Beecher (1922 – 1994)

In the cabin of a lovely, 40-acre, richly forested Lopez Island estate is a birdwatcher’s log book established by the great grandson of Henry Ward Beecher. Descendant of the celebrated preacher and abolitionist, Ward and his wife, Doris, were residents of Seattle and avid birders. Ostensibly making trips to Lopez to visit their son, Hal, or their daughter Josie, who originally owned the Lopez property, Ward and Doris would, immediately upon arrival, lose themselves in the woods and wetland areas to observe eagles, osprey and great blue herons. When Josie purchased a Lopez farm that was more conducive to her sheep-farming ambitions, her parents purchased the forested property from her. It was an ideal situation for Ward and Doris: children and grandchildren close by, pileated woodpeckers sounding the morning alarm, songbirds enlivening the surrounding forest, and what would become their final resting place.

Ward and Doris Beecher chose to place a conservation easement on and then bequeath their treasured Lopez forest and wetlands to the Preservation Trust, retaining for their daughter Josie the right to reside on and enjoy the property through her lifetime. When asked if she, also, was a birder, Josie responded “how could I not be? — It was bred into me.” Clearly, Ward and Doris endowed in their children a love of the San Juan Islands, and of the birds they so enjoyed. Their generous legacy to the Preservation Trust will be protected in perpetuity and appreciated for generations to come.

The San Juan Preservation Trust is grateful to Reverend Josefina Beecher (“Josie” to her Lopez Island friends) for the delightful stories she shared about her parents.