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Community booster Beharriell passes away

December 7, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Mark Pavilons

An active and outspoken community pillar has passed away.
LCol (ret’d) Susan Beharriell died Dec. 2 after a tough battle with cancer.
Susan was a volunteer, and community activist, and regularly voiced concerns at King council meetings. You could find her at almost every local event, festival and parade, showing her pride for both our country and our community. She was a strong advocate for veterans and was happy to speak at almost any event to any organization.
This unique individual will be missed.
Beharriell was a trailblazer, serving as a senior Air Force Intelligence Officer in the Canadian Forces.
She joined the Canadian Forces in 1973 and was one of the first women to complete the same Basic Officers’ Training as the men. She was also the first woman accepted into the Security Branch and later the Intelligence Branch. She has extensive experience in Canada at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels, in Colorado with NORAD, in Germany with NATO, in Ottawa seconded to the Privy Council office writing intelligence assessments for the PM, Cabinet and our Allies, has supported numerous peacekeeping missions and run Intelligence for the entire Air Force. For her efforts in improving Canadian/American Intelligence cooperation post-9/11, she was awarded the U.S. Meritorious Service Medal. Finishing her career on the National Security and Strategic Studies staff at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto, she retired in the fall of 2008 after more than 35 years of service. The Governor-General inducted her as an Officer of the Order of Military Merit, the military version of the prestigious Order of Canada.
“Susan was passionate and an active member of our community, she participated and lead many community organizations and events and she will truly be missed by all of us,” said Mayor Steve Pellegrini.
The mayor said the Township plans to install a bench dedicated to Susan at the cenotaph.
“Susan’s marvellous dedication to the community and beyond is evident in her many volunteer activities over the past 15+ years. She regularly rolled up her sleeves and contributed in notable ways within King Township, serving on the Sustainability Advisory Committee, chairing Climate Action King, welcoming and supporting newcomers to Canada through King for Refugees, and becoming an active member of the King Horticultural Society,” said Bruce Craig of Concerned Citizens of King Township (CCKT).
“Susan had a passion for creating gardens with native plants to attract pollinators, and was always happy to give fascinating guided tours of her multiple gardens to visitors. She took interest in monarch butterflies and participated in science programs with special kits to see monarch’s safely through their life cycle until adults would emerge from their chrysalises and begin their journey south to Mexico for the winter.
“She embraced the future and was one of the first in the province to have a microfit solar array installed on her property over 10 years ago which continues to generate clean, renewable power for Ontario’s grid.
“In many ways, Susan was a devoted educator, always willing to share helpful knowledge on a wide range of topics. Her regular, thoughtful deputations and insightful comments will be missed in King Township Council Meetings by many in King.
“Susan has left us all a wonderful example of embracing life to its fullest, pursuing dreams, and seeking to make a positive difference in the community and the wider global community.”
“Susan was a special person in King, well liked and known by many,” said resident Jeff Jackson. “She loved King, and was a staunch supporter of the green movement in King.”
Beharriell became quite an adept horse woman later in life and enjoyed everything about horses and being part of the equestrian culture.
“Susan was one special, unique person,” noted Councillor Debbie Schaefer. “Her passion for her world was profound. She was excited about discovering a hibernaculum on her property, she was thrilled when she got a report about one of the monarchs carrying a microchip which she had applied, was tracked part way to Mexico. She was impatient with those who didn’t look at the big, long picture. She was a woman who in her military career wrote intelligence reports for the Prime Minister and then in her retirement years would create and don a costume evoking Mother Nature as a way to get attention to the climate crisis.”



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