Senior Tutor 1985-2003

John attended Eastwood Public School and Sydney Church of England Grammar School, and initially followed his father into accounting. As a young man he was a member of St Alban’s Anglican Church in Epping, and later at Christ Church St Laurence and St James’, King Street. He undertook his theological training at St John’s College, Morpeth, and was ordained deacon in 1958, spending his curacy in Tamworth. He was ordained as a priest in 1959, serving as rector of Emmaville in New England before being appointed Head of the Mission Department in Townsville in 1965.

John returned to Sydney to commence studies towards a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Sydney, and worked as a locum chaplain at various Sydney ministries. He was appointed Honorary Assistant Priest at St James, King Street in 1976, a post he held for over forty years, ministering at numerous baptisms, weddings and funerals. John taught English at Sydney Grammar School for twenty years, and had a particular love of Australian literature. The Women’s College library has been the beneficiary of his collection of early edition Patrick White novels. John’s knowledge and recall of Shakespeare was prodigious. He achieved his Master of Arts and eventually his PhD from the University of Sydney, at the venerable age of eighty.

John served as Clerical Fellow of St Paul’s College from 1980 to 2014. He came to live at Women’s College as Senior Tutor in the 1980s, and remained in residence for almost two decades, working with Principals Val Street, Ann Eyland and Quentin Bryce. At his funeral service a letter from Dame Quentin was read, in which she noted that John “played a very important role in our college as an intellect, an advisor and as a man of quiet charm and wit.”

Source: A Eulogy for the life of John Geoffrey Beer by Graeme Bailey

Vale 25 September 2018

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