Gary Beatrice lost his extended battle with pancreatic cancer Jan. 8 surrounded by his family at home. This is a terrific loss to the community, as Gary was everywhere—owner with his family of Business Benefits, he was one of the region’s most respected health care advisers. But his influence was much more pervasive.

He was deeply involved in leadership roles in the Northern Kentucky Chamber, director for many impactful nonprofits—from the Behringer Crawford Museum and Steinford Toy Foundation to Rosedale Manor and the HeathPoint Family Care Foundation. He was chair of the Northern Kentucky Consensus Committee.

He is survived by his wife, Margie, and four children.

He was only 55.

There are no good words for cancer. It is a big killer in Northern Kentucky, which is why St. Elizabeth Healthcare will build a major cancer center aimed at stopping it in its tracks. It can’t come soon enough.

Sky’s the Limit

On a brighter note, how about that airport?

New flights announced on a regular basis, increased passenger traffic (up 20 percent last year) and cargo volumes growing by 110 percent over the last seven years. DHL has expanded and Amazon launched a global air cargo hub.

Meantime, CVG’s amazing leader, Candace McGraw, has been named chair of the board of directors of Airports Council International-North America. Candace has distinguished herself as a leader regionally and now internationally. No surprise that others are recognizing what an asset she is.

Bringing Home Baby

Pamela Brown Wright, the baby born when her famous parents John Y. Brown and Phyllis George Brown occupied Kentucky’s governor’s mansion, is about to become a mom herself.

Pamela has distinguished herself as a hard-working journalist who has become the White House correspondent for CNN. She worked her way up and has never forgotten her roots. She was married in Lexington last June at her family’s former home, Cave Hill, determined to have a Kentucky wedding. Her baby boy is scheduled to arrive in June.

New Leadership

More good news: Northern Kentucky University will have a new president July 1, its sixth.

Dr. Ashish Vaidya, currently interim president at St. Cloud State University, was introduced to the community in December. He was provost of St. Cloud and stepped in as interim president on the death of its president. He is a distinguished scholar and an economist, and speaks eloquently on the value and importance of higher education and the hunger for knowledge.

Most encouraging, in my view, were his views on community engagement and student service. He has an impressive career and experience based on that—exactly what Northern Kentucky needs.

He said he appreciates NKU’s “entrepreneurial spirit” and its focus on “regional needs.”

He and his wife, Nita, also an academic, have two children.

Sad to Say Goodbye

Finally, ending on a sad note, but saluting that NKU “entrepreneurial spirit,” I’m sorry to tell you that Becky Porterfield will not be returning to NKU as dean of the College of Business. She has been on a health leave—going back home to deal with a cancer diagnosis—and recently announced her resignation.

Becky was a true treasure—a real leader, an innovator and a visionary. Not to mention a really nice person. The College of Business will miss her and so will her friends. But, I’m told, she was a leader who built a good leadership infrastructure at the college, so progress will continue there.

Please send thoughts and prayers Becky’s way. There are no good words for cancer.

Judy Clabes is editor and publisher of the Northern Kentucky Tribune.

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