“I shall pass this way but once; therefore any good that I can do or any kindness that I may show let me do it now. For I shall not pass this way again.”
Forever In Our Hearts.
FITZGERALD REDD BEAVER (FITZ) (1922–1992)
Fitzgerald Beaver was born January 18, 1922, in Martinsville, Virginia. He graduated from high school in Martinsville and then attended North Carolina A & T College in Greensboro, North Carolina in the late 1930s. Beaver left college without graduating and worked as a railroad porteracross the United States. By the beginning of World War II he had arrived in the Pacific Northwest and was living in the city of Portland, Oregon.
During the war “Fitz” Beaver, as he was now known, worked briefly for the U.S. Army as a civilian employee and then was hired by the Kaiser Company in Portland as a shipyard worker. After the war he briefly resided in North Bend, Oregon where he worked at a local radio station. Finding a career he liked, he moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue radio and public relations training.
In 1955, he returned to Portland and at the age of 33 became a local radio personality known as “Eager Beaver.” In 1961, Beaver moved to Seattle, Washington to manage radio station KZAM-FM, the first black-owned radio station in the Pacific Northwest. He stayed at the station only a few months before launching The FACTS newspaper on September 7, 1961.
The FACTS quickly became a major media presence in black Seattle. The paper’s mission stated: “We try to pick up where the daily papers leave off” meaning the paper would focus on stories not covered by the major daily newspapers but which were of particular interest to black Seattleites. He gave the paper a distinctive “pink” color to separate it from its competitors. By the late 1960s, Beaver authored a popular column called “Right On!” that discussed local and regional issues.
Beaver was an eclectic personality who often clashed with other black journalists over news related to African Americans such as coverage of the race riots in Seattle and across the nation in the late 1960s. His FACTS newspaper also became a community icon. Its office, on the corner of Cherry Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, was a familiar landmark in Seattle’s Central District with an old truck situated on top of the slanted roof and a large reader board.
Despite his clashes with other black journalists Beaver also hired numerous young black journalists who went on to other newspapers. Chris Bennett, owner and publisher of a competing African American weekly newspaper, The Medium, and Ernie Foster, publisher of The Skanner newspaper in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington, were aided by Beaver when they established their respective new
An ardent golfer, Beaver was a founding member of the predominantly African American Fir State Golf Club. He also served as president of the Boys and Girls Club in Seattle and worked with the Army, Navy and Coast Guard in minority recruiting programs in the 1970s and 1980s.
Fitzgerald “Fitz” Beaver died on
New Year’s Day, 1992 in Seattle, Washington at the age of 69.
Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth, and their three children, Dennis, Marla, and LaVonne Beaver who are the current publishers of the newspaper.
Dennis Beaver says
Proverbs 13:22: A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous. In God’s book, a good man thinks generationally. … Even more, a good man recognizes that the most important inheritance is not physical wealth, but godly character and a good name.
My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me. I was 13 when I last spoke or seen my father Fitzgerald Beaver 28 years ago today .
New Years has alway meant that much more for me; even more as I grow older. I’m so grateful for the time I had with My Father , Grateful to God who gifted Beaver as my Father.
I will never be able to be the person you was, Some footprints are to large to fill but Whatever I do, wherever life takes me, I will always be thankful for the Friend, Teacher, Mentor, Coach, Role Model, MAN that I am so very blessed to call Dad .
Rest In Peace, Love Always
Ted Palssson says
I remember my grandmother making chili for “Beaver’s” ( we called him Beaver or Mr. Beaver) little snack bar that was inside the building at East Cherry and Empire Way (now known as MLK). I love the great car he had (I believe it was a Cadilac) that he would arrive to visit my grandparents in and I remember that he was a very nice, friendly person and my grandparents always enjoyed his visits. I sometimes visit his grave as he is resting in the same cemetery as relatives on my dad’s side.
Thank you for sharing this celebration of his life with us.
Its quite the story, I was not good at history in my academics but definitely is something thats excites me now… thanks for sharing… keep up the great work!
My cousin Mrs. Mae Campbell was the newspaper’s church editor.