Long-time Canadian philatelist, dealer John Beddows dies

John Beddows, long-time member and current secretary-treasurer of the Canadian Stamp Dealers’ Association (CSDA), died yesterday in North Bay, Ont. at the age of 78.

Beddows, who was in the stamp business for 55 years, died suddenly following a short illness on July 21 while surrounded by family at St. Michael’s Hospital. He was slated to attend this weekend’s Postal History Society of Canada (PHSC) Symposium as a bourse dealer. He was also a life member and former director of The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC).

“We all look back, and maybe we should look forward,” wrote Beddows in his dealer profile prior to the July 20-23 show. “I am excited about my next estate, next auction, next stamp or cover. Life is great.”

This picture of John Beddows was taken during a birthday celebration.

Beddows’ visitation will be held on July 25 (from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. and 7 p.m.-9 p.m.) at Hillside Funeral Services on 362 Airport Rd. in North Bay. His funeral will be held the following day beginning at 10 a.m. Donations to the North Bay Regional Health Centre are being gratefully acknowledged by Beddows’ family.

“He delighted in the success and happiness of others, and was always willing to help or enable them to achieve their dreams. He was passionate in all his endeavours, but especially when he was helping others succeed,” reads Beddows’ obituary on Hillside’s website.

“An un-assuming conservationist who while guiding tourists would ensure that none of the meat went to waste, and that they left the forest or lake with greater respect and knowledge of the natural environment. He believed in planting trees and environmental preservation, harvesting only what could be replenished, and taught that our forests and lakes are a trust to be husbanded, protected from those who would consume without replacing, pollute without repairing, or waste without thought. He taught high school introducing students to a wider world through a passionate appreciation for subject matter, learning, and a deep commitment to opening eyes to new possibilities. An internationally recognized stamp dealer, he was trusted and highly respected by colleagues and vendors. His word was his absolute bond, his handshake a contract. Comfortable in forest, on the water, in the city, in the boardroom or bank, behind a computer, he was at his happiest with family, friends, his children and grandchildren, and his beloved wife at Jewel Lake where he seemed truly alive.”


Born in Winnipeg, Man. on Dec. 18, 1939, Beddows was a graduate of Laurentian University in Sudbury. He played linebacker for the Sturgeon Falls Bombers in the Northern Football League from 1964-66.

He worked for more than 30 years as a secondary school teacher at Northern Secondary School in Sturgeon Falls, Ont., where he was head of the school’s business department, before joining the teaching staff of the adult education program in North Bay. During his teaching career, he witnessed firsthand the transition from manual to automated technology. In the 1980s, in co-ordination with the school’s math department, Beddows built programs and courses to help prepare students for the digital era.

Beddows also ran Camp Horizon in Field for more than 20 years before founding the Jewel Lake Wilderness Resort in West Nipissing with his wife Betty, with whom he shared a vision of respecting and living alongside nature.

Also a life member of the American Philatelic Society (APS), Beddows was a distinguished philatelist that earned far-reaching respect throughout the stamp collecting community. He was also a member of the American Stamp Dealers’ Association (ASDA) and a long-time member of the British North America Philatelic Society (BNAPS).


“I’ve known John for probably close to 40 years, and as you know, he was primarily a stamp show dealer. We did a significant amount of business with John over the years—especially in the last five or six years,” said Gary Lyon, owner of Eastern Auctions, who added Beddows was among Canada’s longest-serving dealers.

“We bought and sold quite a lot of material, and occasionally John would come up with things—from private purchases, interesting material, stuff you don’t see all that often—and as a result, we did a lot of business with him.”

“He had a good following,” said Lyon, who added “a lot of collectors” worked with Beddows because he had far-ranging areas of interest, including “pre-cancels, perfins, cancellations and other things some other dealers don’t carry.”

“I have fond memories of dealing with him across the table and him finding things for us that we were looking for. He always had a smile on his face.”

See the next issue of CSN for a full feature on Beddows’ life in philately.

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