Former Chamber president dies

Friends and colleagues were in shock Tuesday over news that former local businessman Tony Beyak passed away suddenly yesterday while vacationing in the Caribbean.
“I’m really saddened to hear of his passing,” said Marla Thomson of the Northern Lights Credit Union here, who worked with Beyak on the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m so shocked. I can’t believe it.”
Beyak, who operated the former Causeway Pontiac-Buick-GMC dealership here for a number of years, was president of the local Chamber of Commerce in 1999 and 2000.
He also had served as president in 1994-95.
Thomson, who served as vice-president under Beyak during his latter two terms, described him as intelligent, fair, and focused.
“He was a very down-to-earth person. He enjoyed spirited debate,” she laughed, obviously remembering a few of those conversations. “He had a very good sense of humour, too.”
Thomson recalled a speech Beyak made at his going away party in June, 2000 when he had resigned from the Chamber to move to Dryden.
“He referred to the board as ‘his girls’ because he worked mostly with women,” she said. “It wasn’t a negative thing. He said that we could do more work than he ever could.”
Gord McBride, who also worked with Beyak on the Chamber of Commerce for many years, was equally saddened to hear of his death.
“Tony was good-natured giving person who got along well with people,” McBride said this morning.
McBride and Beyak are the lone recipients of the James Paul Award in recognition of their dedication and service to the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce.
“He was an excellent president of the Chamber,” McBride said. “He revitalized the Chamber with his organizational abilities and he was well-liked by everyone.”
Beyak is survived by his wife, Lynn, a former PC candidate in the 1995 and 1999 provincial elections, and two sons, one of whom ran for the Reform Party in a Toronto-area riding during the 1997 federal election.