John Vellia Beauchamp, a Darien resident since 1951 who grew up at Ebbets Field and later worked in the automobile business, died Sunday, June 24, at Stamford Hospital. Mr. Beauchamp, 85, was the husband of Audrey Beik Beauchamp.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Dec. 28, 1926, he was the son of the late Thomas Beauchamp and Elizabeth Vellia Beauchamp.
He spent his early years alternating between the school year in Stamford and summers in Brooklyn where a trio of uncles’ managed Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. During those summer breaks, as a child in the late 1930’s, Mr. Beauchamp had access to all areas of Ebetts Field, including both the home and away dressing rooms.
Mr. Beauchamp loved to regale all who would listen with his stories of the players he met and knew during this time. “Some of his favorites included: getting thrown out of the Yankees dressing room by Lou Gehrig for obtaining too many signed baseballs, which for the record he was giving to his aunts who were working in the ballpark,” his family said. “Shagging golf balls for Hack Wilson during batting practice; serving as clubhouse assistant in the visiting clubhouse for the first night game in the history of Ebbets Field when Johnny Vander Meer of the visiting Cincinnati Reds pitched the second of his back-to-back no-hitters; and serving as bat boy for the St. Louis Cardinals “Gas House Gang” when they first played a local semi-pro team at Stamford’s Belltown Field in the summer of 1938.”
Mr. Beauchamp lettered in both football and basketball for Stamford High School, graduating in 1945. “But it was at baseball that he truly stood out, earning an invitation to try out for the Boston Red Sox,” his family said. Upon graduating high school, Mr. Beauchamp enrolled in the U.S. Army, during which time he earned three service stripes for his 18 months in France and Germany where he served in the 102nd Infantry and 4th Armored divisions, rising to staff sergeant.
Upon his return to the U.S. and civilian life, Mr. Beauchamp met the love of his life, Audrey Louise Beik, who was to become his wife. The Boston Red Sox again asked Mr. Beauchamp to be part of their farm system, however, not being allowed to bring his wife with him, he declined their offer and instead became a salesman for Redmond Chevrolet in Stamford.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Mr. Beauchamp won many sales awards for Chevrolet, including salesman of the year, and attended Wayne State University’s School of Management in Detroit. He spent his last 12 years as Redmond’s sales manager. Following his 24 years at Redmond Chevrolet, Mr. Beauchamp turned to auto lease management where he became a successful fleet leasing manager; first for Interlease Corporation and then Hertz Corporation on the lessor side, and finally with American Can on the lessee side. Following the merger of American Can and National Can, Mr. Beauchamp and his wife relocated to Lake Bluff, Illinois for 2 years where Mr. Beauchamp oversaw the integration of the two different leasing pools.
Upon his retirement from American National Can, Mr. and Mrs. Beauchamp returned to Darien to be near their daughter and son in law. Throughout his life Mr. Beauchamp remained active in many pursuits. He was an avid runner, tennis and paddle tennis player. Mr. Beauchamp loved the waters of Long Island Sound, having been a long-time member of the Darien Boat Club where he could often be found working on his boat, “Sea Jogger.”
Mr. Beauchamp along with nine other residents of Echo Valley, was a founding member of the Middlesex Club. In later life, Mr. Beauchamp took great delight in spending time with his two grandsons, his family said.
Besides his wife of 61 years, Mr. Beauchamp is survived by his son, John L. Beauchamp; his daughter, Suzanne Forbes and her husband Michael; and his two grandsons, James Beauchamp Forbes and John McLean Forbes; all of Darien.
Calling hours are Friday, June 29, from 4-7, at the Edward Lawrence Funeral Home, 2119 Post Road. Mr. Beauchamp will be buried with full military honors at a private graveside ceremony on Saturday, June 30.
Memorial donations may be made to the Linda Beson Nursing Education Fund, c/o Stamford Hospital Foundation, 1351 Washington Blvd., Ste. 202, Stamford, CT 06902