Obituary: David Beesley |


September 27, 1938 – November 20, 2021

David Beesley, history teacher and author on the Sierra Nevada, dies at 83.

David Beesley, a prominent environmental historian who studied the Sierra Nevada mountain range, died at his home in Nevada City, Calif., On November 20, 2021, succumbing to complications from a cascade of debilitating illnesses. he was confronted for almost a decade. He was 83 years old.

Born to parents Phillip Gordon Beesley and Margaret Mary Catherine McHale Beesley on September 27, 1938, David grew up in Salt Lake City, UT. Here David ignited a passion for exploring the natural world and its wonders, always ready for the next climbing or mountaineering adventure. He went on to study at the University of Utah, where he eventually earned a doctorate. in history.

A talented storyteller, David was passionate about sharing knowledge and saw access to education as a force for transformation and empowerment. He taught history at Sierra College for 28 years, and before that, as a professor at Morehead State College and Tarleton State University.

David was brought to understand the complex relationship between humans and our environments and how these conditions ultimately shape humanity. He has published extensively examining the ethnographic, labor and environmental history of the Sierra Nevada throughout his career. In 2004, he published “Crow’s Range, An Environmental History of the Sierra Nevada,” marking the peak of David’s scholarship.

“Crow’s Range has been a major achievement – a mountain peak overlooking the trail of our growing awareness,” author and historian Gage McKinney told an audience at the Nevada County Historical Society. “The Book of David broadened the historical awareness of people living in this region and in the West.”

In memory of a loving husband and father and faithful friend, David is survived by Louise Beesley, wife (Nevada City, CA); Del Beesley, Brother (Phoenix, AZ); four children and three stepchildren: Brooks Beesley (Lisa), Peter Beesley (Wendy), Sarah Beesley (Rocco); Nathan Beesley (Ingrid); Connie Falconer; Lynne Frame (Rick); Scott Frame (Johanna), ten grandchildren and Suki the cat. A celebration of his life will take place at a later date. Memorial contributions can be made to Bear Yuba or Truckee Donner Land Trusts, the League of Citizens of S. Yuba River or any organization supporting and defending the environment.

David’s family expresses their deep gratitude and thanks Dr Bouchier, the countless caregivers and Hospice of the Foothills for the loving care they have provided.


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