Dr. Beverley Ross (B. R.) Garrett was born on Sept. 30, 1920. He was a man of honor, sincerity and truth, kind to animals and devoted to his family. He was also mischievous, loved puns, poetry and laughing with friends. Despite his many adult years on the East Coast, he was a Westerner at heart. His storytelling included depression-era tales of a roving life that featured (literally) shacking up in a chicken coop, tourist camps and ramshackle hotels, and adventures of catfishing (catching the occasional water moccasin by mistake), borrowing donkeys with his gang of friends to ride to school, and other exploits. Like many of his time, he worked every odd job available to help support his family – his twin Jane, older sister Margaret and his Mother “Maisie,” – moving often following his father as he pursued prospects in Florida, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Montana.
It was in Texas that he first started to play tennis, at age 11 or 12. By high school, he was playing much older and experienced men. At age 17 and entirely self-taught, he won both junior and senior city tennis titles in Helena, Montana, and made the finals for the state title. The man who beat him for that title, a political science teacher, urged him to come to the University of Montana in Missoula and helped him find work (three jobs) to afford college. He was the Montana State Champion twice (1942 and 1946), but he played for his own pleasure well into in his 70s. He was listening to the U.S. Open the day before he died.
Bev married his soulmate, Milly, in June of 1944. That kiss on their first date (the movie Bambi) turned into a journey together that lasted 75 years. Two bricks lay side-by-side on a campus’ walkway with their names, years of graduation and the words: “Together.” “Forever.” They had a love that was rare, unconditional and unending.
It was also in 1944 that he was sent overseas, flying C-46s into and throughout China as a HUMP pilot (India-Burma-China) for the Army Air Corps. While flying was a thrill like “walking on air,” and being an industrial chemist challenged his mind throughout his working life, what he loved most was his family. When he (finally) retired in 2004 after 40 years in California, Bev and Milly moved to Texas to be close to their daughter Janet who was at his bedside when he passed.
He will be remembered with much love by his children, Janet, Peggy and Jim and their partners, Wes, Anne, and Donna; grandchildren: Patrick Garrett, Tim and Jason Carpenter, Cathy Kley, Britney Ruiz, Michael Garrett, Randy and Chris Proffit and their partners; Bev’s sister’s children, Bevy and Carol, and Milly’s sister’s children, Tom and Debi, Kathy and Paul, and Judy and Lyle. He loved life and lived it with optimism. He will be greatly missed.
A memorial for Bev and Milly will be held at a later date.