The timber framing world has lost an icon in the North American craft revival movement. After many decades of leadership in our community, Will Beemer passed away on June 23, 2022.
Will and his wife Michele co-owned the Heartwood School for the Homebuilding Crafts for nearly 40 years. Over the course of those decades, people came from around the region and around the world to Will and to Heartwood, sharing a vision of empowering hands and training eyes for quality and beauty in the design of things, and to explore the ways we might live in a more honest relationship with our planet.
Will was also a co-founder of the Guild, working with his friends and colleagues to build an organization dedicated to serving timber framers and enthusiasts. He served as a leader on the board as well as co-executive director for more than a decade. Under his leadership, the Guild grew from an idea into a global network of some 2,000 individuals. Will's commitment to service and personal growth is reflected in the Guild itself, through Community Building Projects, the Apprenticeship Training Program, educational programs, and the development of member knowledge from both a skills and academic standpoint.
Will organized and taught building workshops around the world, including timber framing courses at Palomar College in San Diego, North House Folk School in Minnesota, and Colorado State University’s Mountain Campus. Will presented seminars on roof framing and timber framing at conferences and symposia across North America, and wrote for Fine Homebuilding, Joiner’s Quarterly, Wood Design & Building, and the Guild publication Timber Framing. He was a major contributor to the best-selling Timber Framing Fundamentals and his latest book, Learn to Timber Frame, was published in 2016.
At the time of this writing, information on a memorial service is not yet available.
Teacher. Mentor. Leader. Heart and soul of a movement. We will miss you, Will. Your passion, skill, and commitment to craft live on in the generations of timber framers you've taught and inspired.
Will was an educator and community builder, and because his health had been declining for a period of time, he had a specific request. Thousands of students passed through the Heartwood School and thousands of colleagues participated in his programs at Guild conferences and workshops and will continue to do so. Knowing that his legacy would continue through the strength of the community, he asked that memorial donations be made for scholarships to support early-career timber framers who are seeking knowledge, training, and fellowship at Heartwood.
Contributions of $25-2,500 can be made by clicking here. Larger donations in Will's honor may be made payable to TFG/Heartwood School and mailed to the Devanny-Condron Funeral Home, 40 Maplewood Avenue, Pittsfield, MA 01201, which has been entrusted with his care. Thoughts and comments can be shared at Legacy.com.
In closing, here is a lovely 2019 article from the Berkshire Eagle, titled Will Beemer shares the framework for a successful life in the Berkshires.