Harry Conrad Bean passed to his reward on Tuesday, 24 June 2008 at the age of 94 Years. He had been a lay preacher in the Methodist and Uniting Churches for over 50 years and also conducted worship in local Baptist Churches.
Harry’s name first appeared on the Longford Methodist preaching plan when he was listed to take a service at the Perth Church on 2 June 1940, but it is likely he had been preaching elsewhere before this date as he is noted as a visiting preacher from other circuits.
Although it is not now clear when he took his last service, it is thought he was around 80 years of age.
Harry was the son of Hubert and Ella Bean who were members of the Perth Methodist Church. Harry would recall that his parents had seen to it that he attended Sunday school and church from a young age.
Day school was firstly at the Perth Primary with him later going onto secondary education at the Launceston Technical School.
He married Winifred Boyd of Longford and they had a family of three children, Ray, Kathy and Aileen.
Harry’s first work was that of a farmhand at the nearby Leighlands property but on the outbreak of World War Two, moved to the nearby Launceston Airport taking a position with the Airforce ground staff. Later he was employed until his retirement with the Department of Civil Aviation as a carpenter, progressing to the position of Field Officer at the Launceston Airport. As part of this senior position, he spent time travelling around the State inspecting buildings at airports on the Tasmanian mainland and King and Flinders islands.
During his time as a preacher he conducted numerous services in his local area, including at Perth, Longford, Cressy, Pateena, Little Hampton, Bracknell, Evandale and White Hills. I had the privilege of hearing him on a number of occasions and although not a dynamic speaker, was always sincere, dedicated and presented the gospel well, even at times using film in his presentations.
But like Francis of Assisi, Harry did much of his preaching by being involved in his local community and always presented the Christian way of living. He had a wide range of Community involvements and from the eulogy for Harry given by Kim Polley, the Mayor of the Northern Midlands Council, she listed some of Harry’s activities –
- He was a lay preacher in the Methodist Church for 50 years
- He was a Member of the Masonic Lodge
- He was a Life Member of the Australian Labor Party
- He was a trustee of the Perth Cemetery Trust
- He was a member of the Perth Progress Association
- He was a member of Probus
- He played the cornet in the Longford Brass Band and the Evandale Band
- He ran film evenings for a period at Perth
- He organised and led tours to the Mainland for over the age of 50 groups
And though Harry never sought the limelight, locally he became very well known and respected as a local historian, a fervent reporter and for his care of people. He was a familiar sight at many local events, a small man with large glasses and twinkling eyes, with camera slung around his neck and in his hand a note book and tape recorder. Many of his articles were featured in the Launceston Examiner newspaper, the Norfolk Plains Gazette and the Country Courier.
One of his greatest loves was visiting people and regularly would travel the six kilometres to the Toosey Hospital/Aged Care centre at Longford, Tasmania and go from room to room offering a word of cheer, comfort or encouragement, as well as visiting others in their homes.
And so as we remember our brother Harry Bean, we remember a humble and faithful servant of Christ who had a great love for people. Harry has now passed to his reward and cheers us on from the heavenly grandstand.
An In-memoriam by Ivan Badcock presented to the Uniting Church, Presbytery of Tasmania meeting, May 2009.