Longtime York County booster Debi Beshore remembered for enthusiasm, dedication

Junior Gonzalez
York Dispatch

York County lost one of its best advocates in longtime public relations coordinator Debi Dwyer Beshore, family, friends and co-workers say.

Beshore, 64, died unexpectedly Thursday, March 22, from a suspected heart attack outside her home, according to Beshore’s sister, Colleen Dwyer.

Beshore spent decades promoting York County institutions, including the York City School District, Junior Achievement, Steam Into History and, most recently, the Byrnes Health Education Center in York City.

“She was a wonderful friend,” Byrnes Health Education Center President and CEO Anne Bahn said. “This is such a shock."

Debi Beshore, dressed in period piece, was involved in Steam Into History.

Beshore had just started at Byrnes last August and was already “an integral part” of Byrnes’ development, marketing and communications teams.

Beshore’s strong work ethic is something Bahn said she will remember.

"For somebody to take this kind of dual role, she did it with such ease,” she said. “We were lucky to have her.”

More:Steam Into History on track for York City expansion

For Dwyer, Beshore’s baby sister by 12 years, the loss has been devastatingly disorienting.

“She taught me what it meant being a woman,” she said.

Dwyer recalls seeing Beshore go off to college and returning every summer to stacking air conditioner coils at the former York International plant, which their father led.

“We always had everything we needed, but she was always made to work hard and never complained,” Dwyer said of her sister.

More:Byrnes Health Education Center expands to Lancaster

Beshore had that same sense of fortitude all her life, Dwyer said, especially during her 16-year tenure at the York City School District.

“She kept a smile on her face in those challenging moments” at the district in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Dwyer said.

Former York City School District superintendent Carlos Lopez concurred.

Helen Thackson Charter School CEO Carlos Lopez and principal Melissa Achuff address the school board during a rescheduled board meeting Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. Bill Kalina photo

“She always maintained a positive attitude and dedicated her life ... to help parents and students take advantage of everything the district had to offer,” said Lopez, who is now the Helen Thackston Charter School CEO.

Family was of utmost importance to her, according to Patrick Bourque, sales manager at the York County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Bourque and Beshore occasionally went on sales trips as partners during Beshore’s time representing the education nonprofit railway Steam Into History, which saw its reach increase and presence expand into York City.

“She just lit up when she had a chance to talk about (her two adult children Benjamin Beshore and Libby Ruby),” Bourque said. “She was so proud of them and her grandkids.”

Ruby, a 33-year-old public defender in Harrisburg, said her mother was a “super logical” person who balanced work and family life at all costs.

“There were so many times I did my homework in the (old York City School District) admin building on Lindberg,” she said.

No matter what the task was, Ruby said, Beshore made it happen, and it left impressions on her as a public defender and her brother Benjamin, an engineer for NASCAR driver Kyle Busch in North Carolina.

“We both are in situations where everything is stacked up against us,” Ruby said. “That’s what she did, (and) that’s what I fashion my life after.”


Legacy: Amid the sadness, Dwyer says she hopes people remember the positive and lasting impact her sister has left on nonprofits all around York.

“I think she’ll be remembered for all these grants she was able to bring,” she said. “I think they call that a weaver” in the industry.

Beshore understood the needs of the community organizations she joined, Dwyer said, and learned how to meet those needs.

“She just seemed to be able to connect things,” she said.

Fighting back tears, Ruby spoke of her upcoming speech at her mother’s funeral and its central object, which, unsurprisingly, involves weaving.

She’s been using her mother’s quilts to take care of her 3-month-old nephew.

Ruby remembers seeing quilt fabrics that her mother bought that never seemed to go with one another. At the time, she didn’t get it.

“But it’s wonderful that when she pieced what didn’t work together, because when she did, it looks beautiful,” she said.

It reminds Ruby of how Beshore led her life.

“She believed every single person matters. They all fit in the puzzle someplace,” Ruby said.

“My mom’s job was to help them find that place.”