Friendsview at 60: a Resident’s view

Brian and Janice Beals

by Sherry Macy

To celebrate Friendsview’s first fifty years, resident Betty Hockett took on the task of publishing the comprehensive story of our Vision with a Future. In reviewing its pages, I see a community of committed Quakers with a solitary vision—though varied in levels of optimism. In early 1957, architect Donald Lindgren wrote to Brian’s dad, Charles Beals: “I feel like the man holding a tiger by the tail…I believe our thinking has to be awfully careful and in line with what the Lord has in store.” Charles replied, “…if it hadn’t been for your faith and optimism, we might have dropped this entire project a long time ago.” All agreed on the need. “Many members of Oregon (now Northwest) Yearly Meeting of Friends Church had given their productive lives to poorly paid service in the work of Jesus Christ. In retirement, some faced great need.” [from Ralph Beebe’s prologue, Vision with a Future]

Charles Beals led the group— and their decade-long vision— toward building an affordable retirement home, where people of like faith could live out their golden years.

Brian remembers as a junior high student being only slightly aware of his dad’s steady involvement in meetings, not only as he pastored Newberg Friends Church but as building plans were developed and a board of directors was established. Brian “scouted” with his dad to find an appropriate building location. Imagine everyone’s joy when property became available within walking distance to downtown Newberg and across the street from George Fox University (then College)!

By ground-breaking in 1959, Charles had been named Friendsview’s full-time executive director and had resigned from his role as pastor. The countless hours he devoted to developing people’s trust in this yet-unproven living concept rendered results— financial commitments in the form of down payments! He assured prospective residents, “I am positive you will be well satisfied in the Manor, for it is here you can retire with safety, comfort, privacy, freedom, independence, peace of mind, companionship, security, modest cost, zest for living, and freedom from care.” A short descriptor followed each value.

Freshly graduated from high school, Brian eagerly accepted the opportunity for a summer job on the Manor’s construction crew to help fund his college tuition. Little did he know he was helping build what he and his wife would one day call home, the very place he hauled sheets of plywood and poured concrete for $2.79 an hour!

As college newlyweds, Brian and Janice counted on income she earned as a waitress in the Friendsview dining hall. They share Quaker roots that have deepened over their 57 years of marriage. In 2014, they moved to their current residence on the fourth floor (visible in the main photo), the same floor that housed both sets of parents in years gone by.

Brian Beals MowingMay 1964
Brian takes a rare break from mowing the Friendsview lawn, where Creekside now stands.

In 2006, the Friendsview board adopted the mission statement we publish on the front page of every View issue. It was followed by “…to that purpose we covenant together—residents, staff, and board of directors—to uphold the following values: integrity, stewardship, compassion, community, excellence, dignity, service, and Friends heritage.” A verse and descriptor* follows each value.

Decade anniversaries inspire celebration and evaluation. We review our origins and recognize progression over time. Have we remained true to our founders’ vision?

Who better to ask than Brian and Janice Beals? “In our view the qualities described in the mission statements of the two eras have been carried out with the same degree of dedication and passion. Of course we recognize changes over the past 60 years, but they relate to quantity, not quality. Spatial expectations of retirees in the early ’60s differed considerably from those of today—ourselves included. We’ve grown accustomed to the comforts afforded to us in these more modern times. And we are grateful for the foresight and dedication of Friendsview leadership to provide housing options for prospective residents.”

Earlier I referred to “levels of optimism.” Brian described his conversation with an early skeptic, who thought the idea was “pure foolishness.” With great emotion she professed what an “absolute lifesaving blessing” Friendview had been to her.

Brian BealsIt was 1966. Brian and Janice lived in Hillsboro and waited for the birth of their first child, due June 6. Brian, a 5th grade teacher, spent the summer working at Friendsview in maintenance and grounds. Weeks came and went, leaving Brian with only one answer to the oft-asked question, “Any baby yet?” A white T-shirt became Brian’s daily uniform, efficiently designed to answer the question until Bradley finally arrived on July 28!