Stephen Foster Beard passed away from complications brought on by heart surgeries. His tired heart finally stopped beating for the last time with his family by his side on September 7, 2020, at Chulabhorn Bangkok Hospital.
Stephen was born on December 7, 1940, in Portsmouth U.K. He moved to London in the 1960s, where he worked as a porter at the local hospital. He then learned the locksmith trade and joined Portsmouth Steel, where he was noticed by the boss for his talents and abilities. He was taken under the boss’s wing and taught how to run a business from the inside out.
Next, he created his own company in the ‘chasing business.’ ‘Chasing,’ in the London construction boom times, meant that after the houses were built, holes were beaten into and through the walls so that piping and wiring could be ‘chased’ (pushed and pulled) through. Stephen invented a horizontal boring machine to reduce labor, make the job less labor-intensive, and much cleaner. But his unscrupulous boss declared bankruptcy, which became one of the biggest company insolvencies in corporate history of that time, and stole Stephen’s invention for himself, leaving Stephen broke on the streets of London. The bank would not even lend him £500 to keep his company going!
Following this setback, Stephen joined YKK zipper, the Japanese zip company and brought their measly 1% of the UK market up to 90%. But when a new boss was taken on and tried to tell Stephen how to do his job (incorrectly of course!), Stephen told him to Foxtrot Oscar in no uncertain terms, and promptly left the company!
Stephen created his first big site assembly in North Finchley in the 1970s, making his first lot of big bucks. This funded an estate agency and a construction company. During that time, he created a specialist kitchen retail shop called ‘Stephen Studios in North Finchley.’ He named the company Foster Beard Distribution Ltd., and it went on to become the most successful wholesaler of built-in appliances to specialist kitchen retailers for integrated appliances, worktops and taps.
He first started visiting Thailand with his fiancé Tina in the late 1980s / early 1990s to help sort out a jewellery company owned by King Power. Like many, he first discovered Thailand via golf excursions and would bring his favorite customers to Thailand for golf, while staying at the Royal Cliff. He also made friends quickly and frequented the Wild Chicken bar, a meeting place frequented by many local expats.
He finally settled here for good in the mid-1990s and married the love of his life, Lamyai, in 1994. His son Samson was born here in 1994, and in 1997 the Beard family welcomed Cindy to the fold, which brought them much joy.
Unfortunately, Stephen’s oldest son, Simon, died in 1993, which hit him hard. His daughter Annalise is alive and well in UK.
His first business endeavor in Pattaya was opening the Hare House in 1997, partnered with Wayne Tischburn. The location served as home to the Hash House Harriers when the weekly runs were laid out on out of the way dirt roads, many of which have since been paved over and serve as roads to various golf courses.
The Hare House also served as the second golf meeting point in Pattaya. At that time, a new golf course was opening in the greater Pattaya area every six months. And as greater Pattaya grew, Stephen was sure to be right in the middle of it. A friendly greeting and a firm handshake created new golf mates and ready-made dinner friends, resulting in a great golf holiday made simple – just show up.
In 2000, Stephen made the bold move to Soi 13, at that time a dark soi with few hotels. There were few buildings and even fewer lights. He and Lamyai purchased Chris’s Guest House and from it, built a two-story hostelry they called The Haven Hotel with the well-known restaurant named ‘A Taste of Thailand.’ It was just the third on the soi, along with the Inn of the Golden Crab and further down the street stood The White House, which was a six-room guesthouse at that time. Stephen’s instincts were spot on, for the location was great. As the old guests followed from the Hare House, and new guests discovered The Haven, the soi grew up around them; the baht was welcoming as were the Thai people and the delights of Pattaya.
Stephen grew as well, becoming a major influence on the local golf scene, including co-launching the IPGC in 2000 with Stan Fry and Steve Mascari.
He also looked beyond his own backyard and raised many millions of baht for the Ban Jingjai Orphanage. All that and the problems of the world solved at the back table, as well as too many laughs and good times to recall. What we do recall is that all this was made possible by our friend, Stephen Beard.
In 2004, at the age of 63, Stephen suffered his first heart attack and his first surgery at Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital.
His last business move was to open the Taste of Thailand restaurant and guesthouse on Soi Lengki in 2017, offering the same friendships, golf outings and good food as The Haven. However, when the place closed in May 2020, Stephen’s health began to deteriorate.
Stephen was predeceased by his son Simon in 1996, and he is survived by his wife Lamyai who he married on January 23, 1994, and three children, Annalise in London, Samson and Sirinya in Thailand.
In the 1946 movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which Stephan certainly had, the little girl tells her daddy that “every time a bell rings an angel gets their wings.” We’d like to think that every time we hear the ring of the bell, an angel will give Stephen a beer.
Stephen will be missed by his family and many friends in Pattaya and around the world and we are all grateful that we had the opportunity to have known him.
|Mourning Prayer Ceremony: 8th – 12th September 2020, 7.00 p.m.
Cremation Funeral Ceremony: Sunday 13th September 2020, 14.00
At Wat Kao Pho Thong, Pattaya (Mabprachan Lake – near the late Papa Ray Rogers’ house)