Obituary: Errol Michael Beard—Bridging Art, Light and People in Portland and Beyond

Born in Portland, Oregon. Raised in Vancouver Washington. A 1968 graduate of Ft. Vancouver High School, he also attended the University of Washington, studying architecture. As a youngster he found it easiest to go by Mike, but in recent years many friends knew him as Errol. Mike passed away peacefully in his home from ongoing health issues. He was preceded in death by his brother Gary. He’s survived by his children, Christopher M. Beard 26, and Nicole M. Beard 24, both of Portland, as well as his brothers Ed and Jeff and his sister, Cheryl Cristobal.

Mike spent his life working in the arts, focused on architecture, bridges and serving the community. He started his business, Errolgraphics, in 1979. He was well known for his series of Mt. Hood Jazz Festival posters, beginning in 1983 with the piano floating on Trillium Lake and for his 19 years of posters promoting the Bite of Portland. He’s also known for his series of architectural renderings of Portland’s bridges and his images of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as New York’s, Chicago’s, Pittsburg’s and London’s bridges and many other iconic structures. Mike did many projects promoting Portland, including the Portland Opera, Chamber Music Northwest, the Portland BridgePedal, the Arial Tram and more. His national works were often featured in popular cinema. Mike was a founding member of the Willamette Light Brigade, focusing on lighting the city’s bridges, and he was a driving force behind the Winter Light Festival. Mike’s body of work is large and included national treasures, some of which can be found in the National Archives.

He loved the arts, golfing, rafting, camping and connecting with friends and strangers alike. As a child he spent summers camping and waterskiing with his family. When his own children were young, he spent endless hours at their sporting events and camping with them around the Pacific Northwest. He loved where he lived. His neighborhood in NE Portland filled him with energy. His neighbors knew him to sit on his porch and talk with everyone. That porch was a neighborhood gathering place. Mike will be remembered by those who knew him as a fun and generous spirit. He was creative, thoughtful and talkative. He was a loving father, brother, neighbor, and friend.

Due to COVID-19, there will be no funeral service. Mike will be laid to rest at Evergreen Memorial Gardens in Vancouver WA.

Mike’s children, Chris and Nicole, intend to honor his life by continuing to manage and sell his works at Errolgraphics.com.

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