SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, JANUARY 31, 2021 - John Roger Beers passed away January 19, 2021 from complications of Parkinson’s Disease. A brilliant environmental litigator for three decades in the San Francisco Bay Area, he moved to New London, CT in 2006 to dedicate himself to painting and drawing. Roger leaves diverse and lasting friendships and a better protected natural world.
Raised in Waco, Texas, Roger majored in philosophy at Baylor University and graduated from Harvard Law School, magna cum laude. As an attorney, he took on ground-breaking lawsuits on behalf of environmental groups—including the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council—on a wide range of issues including nuclear, clean water, coastal and wildlife preservation, and public use of federal land. His clients included many Bay Area cities, towns and state and local governments and agencies; he worked with several Bay Area groups such as TURN, and authored books and articles on environmental law. For his he work received numerous awards including the Sierra Club’s William O. Douglas award for “outstanding use of the legal process to achieve environmental goals” in 2004.
His true passion was always painting, attending the San Francisco Art Institute for several years in an attempt to combine painting with law. On a brief visit East, Roger fell in love with New London CT and the possibility it offered of painting full time. Within months he and his partner Helen Sandalls resettled there. He soon became an Elected Artist at the Mystic Museum of Art and the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts; his work won numerous awards in group shows in museums and galleries throughout New England. He painted until the end, saying he didn’t have Parkinson’s when he was painting. Some of his works can be seen at rbeers.myportfolio.com.
Known for his quick wit, Texas sayings, good manners, and his deep and genuine interest in those who were part of his life, Roger will be dearly missed.
Roger is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth Beers, her husband Andrew Robichaud, and Roger’s grandson Abe, of Watertown, MA; his brother Paul and his wife Heather Beers of Pine Grove, CA; his beloved partner of 15 years, Helen Sandalls, and her son Alec Leshy, of New London; his former wife, Kathryn Oliver of Tiburon, CA; and his grandson Xavier Eaton, son of Roger’s late son, Samuel Haley Beers, of Mill Valley, CA.