Each Life That Touches Ours For Good – The Craftsman

When such a friend from us departs, we hold forever in our hearts a sweet and hallowed memory…. Hymn # 293

Ten years ago today Norman died of a brain tumor, at the age of 52. He was my husband for 25 years, and the father of my children. There are a lot of things that I could tell you about him, but I’m going to honor his memory today by saying that he was a very special, unique and gentle man, someone who loved the past and cherished the old ways of doing things. He studied, took classes or taught himself traditional handcrafts that most people wouldn’t have the time or patience to attempt. He refinished and re-caned this rocking chair and all of the many antique chairs in our house.

Spider Web Rocker

Norman loved to read – he loved books more than anything; the older, more classic and obscure the better. Obscure to me, I should say; not to him! He was fluent in French, growing up in a French-Canadian family in Maine. He was a bookbinder in the conservation lab at the Doe Library, UC Berkeley, but sometimes he was able to work on his own books. He sewed and rebound this vintage copy of Calico Bush, a story that reflects his interest in classic literature and also his French heritage in Maine.

Calico Bush

Norman made this box for me one Christmas, in the style of the Shakers. He preferred using antique woodworking tools whenever possible.

Shaker Box

We have many material artifacts like this from Norman’s life to keep him close to us in our memories. I know he would be pleased to be remembered as a fine craftsman who treasured the old ways.

Norman Civil War

Norman Gerard Beaudoin, circa 1975

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20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susan Heumphreus
    Oct 17, 2015 @ 10:10:21

    Wow, that is an excellent tribute! And how good to be reminded that physical things can be very comforting, reassuring, and a testament to many wonderful character traits in the people who have gone on before…

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  2. valorydegree
    Oct 17, 2015 @ 10:15:31

    Thank you, Susan!

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  3. Linda
    Oct 17, 2015 @ 10:38:25

    Galore, I loved this tribute! What beautiful treasures you and your children have to remember him by.

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  4. Mary Cook
    Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:00:57

    Oh my, I am so deeply touched by the lovely memories you have shared of Norman, certainly one of the most unique people I’ve ever met. My house is full of his handy work too. As I sit typing this I look up at the Fritz Eichenberg print he framed for me. There is my little childhood rocking chair he restored in the corner of the room. It’s hard to believe Norman has not been with us for ten years, but then again, he has been, with all the lovely things he left behind. Every Christmas I hang the Danish Start he made at the top of our tree…it’s tiny, but beautiful, and deserving of that honor. I miss Norman. Thanks for sharing Valory.

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  5. Lynette Carlson
    Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:18:19

    That was a beautiful tribute for a beautiful man.

    Liked by 1 person

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  6. valorydegree
    Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:20:09

    Yes, Mary, it is amazing what Norman accomplished in his time here. I could have included so many other examples of his work, but a representative sample was best. This was not difficult to write, but when I was done and read it over, it was a little difficult to read because it brought him back close to mind, and I miss him too. He was just one person out of millions who was lost that year, but the worth of a soul is great. We knew him intimately, and we know that he was one in a million.

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  7. valorydegree
    Oct 17, 2015 @ 11:27:04

    Thanks, Lynette. So glad you were able to know Norman as a “cousin-in-law” over the years!

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  8. Janis
    Oct 17, 2015 @ 13:24:00

    Val this is so beautiful!!! He was so talented and did such beautiful work!! This is an amazing tribute!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. valorydegree
    Oct 17, 2015 @ 14:26:26

    Thank you, Janis!

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  10. moanaj
    Oct 19, 2015 @ 10:50:18

    Life is beautiful. Such a wonderful reminder to hold our memories close to our hearts. Thank you for sharing.

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  11. valorydegree
    Oct 19, 2015 @ 20:46:06

    Thank you for offering your thoughts, Moana.

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  12. Karla Krause-Miller
    Oct 19, 2015 @ 23:14:52

    We are honored to have the beautiful lampshade that he made for us. It is hand stamped with special tools & very detailed precision. It is perfect and graces our front window. As Mary mentioned, we also have some handmade & very beautiful Christmas ornaments. All of these are carefully placed in prominent positions on our tree every year. I miss Norman & think of him every night when I turn out the light bearing his lampshade, and many other times too.

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    • valorydegree
      Oct 21, 2015 @ 19:57:02

      Oh, yes, Karla; one of the things Norman learned to do was hand-pierced lampshades. We have a couple, and also one that has pressed flowers in the shade that he made by hand. All so lovely.

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  13. Diane Adam
    Oct 22, 2015 @ 13:56:29

    What a beautiful memory! What a craftsman!

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. Cathy Lynn Brooks
    Nov 01, 2015 @ 09:02:39

    This is beautiful. It sure is a lost art caning furniture but he did an amazing job. Sorry for your loss.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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