Robin Murray Beechey passed away after a prolonged illness on March 17, 2020 at home in Sandy Springs with his wife by his side. He was 83 years old. Robin was preceded in death by his parents Benjamin and Marjorie Beechey and his brother, Terry Beechey.
Robin was born August 22, 1936 in Hastings, East Sussex and grew up in Battle, England. He was educated at Sutton Valence School and received his Jurisprudence Degree with Honors from Exeter College, Oxford University in 1959. He did his National Service as 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery. He attended Manchester Business School in 1966. Robin was admitted as Solicitor of the Supreme Court. Robin was later awarded an Honorary Fellowship from Brighton University.
He worked in the local governments of East Suffolk and Hampshire County Councils before landing his dream job in his birth county of East Sussex where Robin served as Chief Executive of East Sussex County Council 1973-1994. He was elected President of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives. Robin was Clerk to the Lieutenancy of East Sussex which handles arrangements for Royal Visits to the County and greeted many members of the Royal Family. He was Clerk to Sussex Police Authority. In 1976, Robin worked with a group of private donors from the USA and the British Government to save Battle Abbey for the Nation. He and his wife Ann worked with Christopher Milne to help save Ashdown Forest (home of Winnie the Pooh and friends) from Private Development. He was a Member of Council of University of Sussex and Council of Management of Brighton Festival.
After retirement in 1994, Robin did consulting work in Public Administration Reform. This work took him to Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Kosova, Russia, Croatia, Syria, Ukraine, Serbia, and Ghana. He supervised elections in Zimbabwe, Madagascar, and Bosnia. He was very dedicated to helping the emerging democracies as they sought guidance. Robin and his wife Ann moved to the U.S. in 2000.
Robin is survived by his wife of more than 30 years Ann Crichton, his sons James Beechey and Nicholas Beechey (Angela); stepchildren George Crichton (Lisa) and Catherine Crichton Long (Bentley); daughter-in-law Saskia Sissons; grandchildren: Mia Beechey, John and Drew Crichton, Elizabeth and Griffin Long. He is also survived by his sisters Veronica Beechey, Hilary Beechey (Colin Elliott), and several nieces and nephews. He will be greatly missed by his family on both sides of the ocean.
Robin and Ann had a passion for classical music and traveled to more than 60 countries in 6 continents. They enjoyed spending time with their grandchildren and taking them on summer trips. Whether Robin was riding horses in Grand Teton National Park, rafting rapids in Maine, whale watching in Alaska, or fishing in Panama, he was leading grandchildren on adventures. He showed them England, Paris, Atlanta, Houston, art museums, landmarks, and made it all interesting for the grandchildren. He loved exploring the National Parks and discovering natural beauty outside everywhere he went. Robin proudly became a citizen of the United States in 2005, but never lost his love for his native England. Robin’s favorite sports were cricket and rugby, but he faithfully attended the grandchildren’s concerts and games, even though he never fully understood American football. He was an accomplished cook and delighted his grandchildren in food that they might never have tried if Granddaddy had not cooked it.
Robin was a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church where he taught several classes about Central Eastern Europe, especially when there were “hot spots.” He also served the New Members Class, the Welcoming Committee, and helped to prepare the weekly Church programs for a number of years.
His memorial service will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the music program of Trinity Presbyterian Church, 3003 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta, GA 30327 or a charity of your choice.
May Robin rest in peace. We are thinking of Ann and all the family at this difficult time.
Rachel Finnegan (niece), David Kane and family (Ireland)
Robin was a great neighbor and made the best gin and tonic. He will be missed.
So sorry for your loss. Ellen and Ray
The ten years I worked under Robin’s guidance at East Sussex County Council from 1984 to 1994 were my most intensive period of personal development. His encouragement and trust helped me to develop the skills and confidence to achieve my career ambition of becoming a local authority chief executive. Many others also benefited from his skill at spotting their potential and guiding them to greater things.
I am very sad at his passing, but shall always remember his friendship and all that he did for me with gratitude. Angi and I shall miss the opportunity to stay in touch with him.
Our thoughts an prayers are with you, Ann. Lewis and I regret that we did not get to know such an amazing man.
With our love and sympathy,
Lewis and Marjorie
Thinking of you at this sad time, Ann. You and Robin had an amazing life together!
Lewis and Marjorie
So sorry to hear of Robin’;s passing Ann. Martha and I remember you and Robin’s visit to Montreal with smiles. I will let my siblings, Robin’s first cousins once removed, know of his passing.
Robin Beechey was a man of vision,energy and compassion which I experienced at first hand during my years in local government in East Sussex, England from 1974-1989. The lessons I learned from him stayed with me as I moved on in life. We shared a passion for local democracy and in later years we compared notes on his work in Central and Eastern Europe with my own work developing international inter-local governmental partnerships and observing international elections in the emerging democracies post 1989 in Europe. His new life in the USA blossomed with Ann and the family and without fail he kept in touch. Fun and friendship were never in short supply from Robin so my sadness is compensated by many happy memories. Sincere condolences to Ann and his wider family.