Wrestling pioneer Eric Beardsley died on Dec. 17. He was 89.
Born and raised in Yakima, Beardsley and his three brothers were raised by their mother, Edith. His father, Harold, died in an accident in Alaska when he was 3.
Beardsley was an all-around athlete at Yakima Valley College and Central Washington University. He started the wresting programs at Moses Lake High School in 1952 and later at CWU in 1959.
While at Central Washington, the Wildcats won NAIA national championships in 1971 and 1974. He was also named NAIA coach of the year in 1971 and 1974.
Beardsley coached CWU wrestling until he retired in 1985, capping 34 years of coaching. He was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame as a coach and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame for his lifetime service to wrestling.
Beardsley also received the CWU Distinguished Alumni Award.
Most important, he was an ambassador for wrestling in the state of Washington.
Beardsley and his wife, Glenna, moved from Ellensburg to Lynden in 2007 to be closer to their son and the golf course.
Beardsley loved spending time with his family, and going to Hawaii, where he and Glenna spent many of their winters. Traveling to Scotland, his mother’s birthplace, was a trip of a lifetime for him.
Beardsley is survived by his wife, Glenna, and they would have celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary this week.
He is also survived by his son, Eric S. (Pat); his son-in-law, Dan O’Connor, of Leavenworth, Washington.; and his grandchildren, Taliia Beardsley, and Cameron Hollingsworth; and his great-granddaughter, Paris Beardsley.
His daughter, Sandy, died in 2006. Also preceding him in death were his brothers, Rodd, Bruce and Jim.
Memorials may be given to the Center: CHCC at 855 Aaron Dr. in Lynden, Washington 98264. A service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Gillies Funeral Home at 202 Front St., Lynden.
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