Dr. David Pierce Beatty 1933 – 2015

Dr. David Pierce Beatty, 1933 – 2015

This obituary for Dr. David Pierce Beatty was written by his daughter Margaret with contributions from David himself, his wife Mary Jean, and son Daman.

On October 10th, 1933, during the Great Depression, David Beatty was born at home in a back road farm house with no running water or electricity in Ingham County, Michigan. Growing up, he attended a one-room school house. He participated in the Future Farmers of America and 4-H Club, where he won a public speaking contest for the State of Michigan and other similar awards. This inspired him to continue his education, eventually earning a Ph.D. in History of International Relations from Michigan State University.

David came to Canada during the Vietnam War in 1966 to join Mount Allison University’s History Department where he specialized in diplomacy between the country of his birth and the country into which he was adopted. He served as Departmental Head, Director of American Studies, and Co-Director of International Studies. Additionally, he authored several books: The Vimy Pilgrimage, July 1936, From the Diary of Florence Murdock, Amherst, Nova Scotia; Memories of the Forgotten War: The World War I Diary of Pte. V.E.Goodwin; and The World War I Diaries and Letters of Lieut. Stanley Edgett (co-edited by Dr. Tom Edgett). For several years, he was a leading figure in the university’s high school visitation program and an enthusiastic counselor to prospective students. He was perhaps best known as a passionate teacher who was generous with his time and advice. He showed dedication to the development of his students not only as intellectuals and scholars but also as individuals and citizens. Mount Allison awarded him the Herbert & Leota Tucker award for Excellence in Teaching in 1989. He taught for over three decades until his appointment as Professor Emeritus of History in 2000.

David’s love of history and teaching was matched by his enthusiasm for football. An avid supporter of the Mount Allison varsity football team, he could reliably be found on fall weekends near the athletic field cheering on his beloved Mounties. He was appointed Honorary President of the Fifth Quarter Club. In his final years, when no longer able to attend games, he loyally followed his favourite team on television with great pleasure.

Sheila Blagrave, editor of the Mount Allison Record, said of David Beatty, “He was a gentleman farmer and something of a backroom politician“. He was also a popular orator and storyteller who featured occasionally on radio and television and was known locally for his annual Remembrance Day speeches. Although not destined to be a farmer by profession, he nonetheless continued to cultivate his rural roots. David was deeply fond of the small community of Baie Verte, New Brunswick, which he called home for about two decades. For many years, between Convocation and Commencement, he moved his family to Parkbeg Farm, in Murray Corner, New Brunswick, where he zealously planted vegetables and raised livestock to fill the freezer with food for the long winters. When not tending to his prolific gardens, he could often be found distributing the overabundance among friends, neighbours, and passers-by. David was also an outdoorsman and athlete, instilling in his children a love for camping, hiking, running, canoeing, and campfire building.

David passed away on August 2nd, 2015, after a lengthy illness. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Mary Jean (Bissell) Beatty, and three children: Daman Beatty (Fatima) of Vancouver, BC; Margaret Priemer, of Sackville, NB, and David Beatty Jr., of Michigan. He is also survived by two brothers, Thomas and Hal Beatty, of Michigan; three grandchildren: Catherine and Oliver Priemer, of Sackville, NB, and Jason Beatty, of Michigan; four great-grandchildren: Brayden, Gage, Brynn, and Pierce Beatty, of Michigan; and extended family.


A celebration of David’s life will take place on Saturday, August 15th, at 2:00 p.m., and has been moved to Mount Allison University Chapel, Sackville, New Brunswick. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in David’s name to Mount Allison University’s Fifth Quarter Club, the Tantramar Heritage Trust, Open Sky Co-Operative, or a charity of one’s own choice.

Further details will be published on Jones Funeral Home website.


Originally from Sackville, New Brunswick. A longtime media producer, visual designer, marketing and communications specialist, Daman loves travel, technology and being a Dad.


  • John Phillips

    A great Teacher and an inspiration to so many over the years. Former Mounties (81-85) speak of him every time we’re together and very few Mt.A stories are told without a Doc Beatty mention. We sure loved his classes but even more his enthusiasm for our success on the field and his presence at games in Sackville and around the league too. Sending my thoughts and condolences to your family at this difficult time.

  • Eric Deegan

    Although today I have 3 degrees, I was not a very good student upon arrival at MTA (90-93). I had to do summer school to get back in. Dr. Beatty approached me as I was stretching before practice and told me to take his courses. I asked a veteran if I should and was told to register that day. I can quote verbatim the first 15 minutes of his class. I felt in the presence of greatness as he passionately told me about the importance of knowing ones history. He awoke something in me that I never knew existed. Completely agree with John’s comment below, his name is often mentioned at reunions. He is and always will be part of the MTA football family. Tried so hard to win the 1991 Vanier Cup for people such as Dr. Beatty. His life touched so many of us. Profound loss of his passing. May you rest in peace Captain, my captain!

  • Philip Chaddock

    There are very few teachers that can touch the lives of their students in the way Dr. Beatty was able to do. He was a man of true character that is rarely found in this world today; a passionate teacher of history, friend, mentor and an inspiration to all he came in contact with. He cast the mold how of how to be a great teacher – every time I have been in a class room, I feel his presence and what he taught me and how to pass it on to the next generation. Rest in peace Dave, and condolences to all members of his family. Mt.A has lost one of its greatest professors but he will never be forgotten.

  • Siobhan Borgo

    Dr. Beatty was an a wonderful professor and a brilliant raconteur, who made
    history come alive for all of us who had the privilege to be his students. I echo Philip’s comments. There are very few educators that have the type impact that your father had on his pupils. A truly inspirational teacher. My heartfelt condolences to you and your family. He will be truly missed. (Class of ’91)

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published.