CUMMING — Four generations of family gathered July 26 to celebrate the 100th birthday of Horace Beasley, a longtime Forsyth County resident.
Beasley’s son Thomas described his father as one of the “kindest, nicest, most approachable people I’ve met in my life.”
“Everybody in our family just loves the man,” he said. “He’s my best friend.”
During a long storied professional and civic career, Beasley has been recognized by elected officials and colleagues. But to his family he remains a loving and funny father to his two children and a grandfather and great-grandfather of several who enjoys croquet and a football game.
“He is a big Tennessee fan,” said Karen Donalson, a granddaughter. “He loves Georgia, but not if they are playing Tennessee.”
One of Beasley’s better-known sayings, which was displayed on a banner at his birthday party, came about from that love of football.
“Whenever his team would punt, he would go … “a booting team is a losing team,” Donalson said.
Croquet is one of his favorite hobbies.
“They’re like synonymous, Horace and croquet,” she said.
Croquet became a staple at any family event.
“There was always a game of somebody playing croquet in the backyard,” said, Alice Beasley Lee, adding that her father also is known for his patience and kindness.
“He said his parents never, ever even raised their voice to each other,” she said. “He was the old-fashioned kind of guy where you took care of your wife, you took care of your family.”
Beasley, who served as a fighter pilot in World War II, bought a home on Lake Lanier in the early 1960s while still living in Sandy Springs. He visited Forsyth on weekends for several years before moving to the county permanently with his late wife, Jonnie, in 1970.
Since that time, Beasley has seen the population grow from about 17,000 to more than 195,000 and it transformation from “a rural area to almost a city.”
When Beasley arrived in the area, there was just one grocery store, a Dairy Queen and the courthouse, and “that was about it,” Lee said.
Her father quickly became involved in the community after his retirement from Pet Milk. He also had worked for Stuckey’s and Taylor Biscuit Company. He missed the sense of productivity and soon re-entered the work force as a real estate broker.
“He just always wanted something to do, a purpose,” said Karen Donalson, his granddaughter.
Beasley, along with some associates, opened Broker’s Alliance Realty. He became a licensed auctioneer and property appraiser and then served as president of the Forsyth County Board of Realtors.
In his work as an appraiser, Beasley often sought information from fellow real estate professionals about comparable properties. However, he wanted to find a way to make it easier for them to access the information.
So at the age of 69, he began visiting the Forsyth County Courthouse’s deed records office and keeping his own books about real estate sales in the area.
Word of Beasley’s records quickly spread, and others in the field signed up to receive the data as a monthly subscription. It became a business, The Beasley Report, which expanded to include more than 60 counties. He operated the report with his daughter until he was 95.
Beasley’s community involvement garnered recognition from the Forsyth County commission, who honored him in 2006 for 20 years of service as a member of the Forsyth County Development Authority.