William F. Beauchamp

William F. Beauchamp (September 8, 2008)

William F. Beauchamp, a real estate appraiser and avid sports fan who founded his own firm in the mid-1980s, died Wednesday of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson.

The longtime Timonium resident was 57.

"His father had been an appraiser, and he got his skills in part from him, and then embellished them," said Mark J. Plogman, who worked as an appraiser at Mr. Beauchamp's firms for the past 25 years. "When he started his firm, he invited me to join. He was both my friend and mentor, and we worked together until the end."

The son of a real estate appraiser and a homemaker, William Foley Beauchamp was born in Baltimore and raised on Cliveden Road in Sudbrook Park, where he and Mr. Plogman were childhood friends.

After graduating from McDonogh School in 1973, he earned a bachelor's degree in 1977 from what is now Washington & Lee University. He began his professional career the next year as a management assistant at the old Loyola Federal Savings & Loan.

In 1978, he earned his real estate license, and since 1994 had been a licensed Maryland real estate broker.

Mr. Beauchamp was a staff appraiser for the bank's Bay State Appraisal Corp. from 1979 to 1981, when he left to become an independent appraiser. In 1985, he returned to Bay State as assistant vice president, and a year later, he was named senior appraiser for Household Service Corp.

In 1986, he established William F. Beauchamp Associates, a real estate firm that he owned and operated until he founded The Preferred Appraisal Group in 1994, where he was president until his death.

In addition to attorneys and investors, some of Mr. Beauchamp's clients included the Baltimore County Bureau of Land Acquisition, JP Morgan Chase Bank, PHH Mortgage Services, Susquehanna Bank, Sandy Spring Bank, M&T Bank and Merrill Lynch.

Mr. Beauchamp's firm appraised residential properties and condominiums, as well as handling appraisals of proposed subdivisions of single-family properties and condemnations.

"He was very competent and understood the principles of appraising. He had integrity," said Mr. Plogman.

"Back around 2000, when real estate flipping was becoming endemic in Baltimore City, Bill started getting calls from flippers who were buying dilapidated houses and wanted him to appraise them at higher values than their actual values," he said.

"Bill wanted no part of it and said as much. If more appraisers had taken that attitude, the flipping scandal that ensued, that was detailed in The Sun, might've run out of steam," said Mr. Plogman.

Mr. Beauchamp had coached girls lacrosse for the Cockeysville Recreation and Lutherville-Timonium Recreation Council and also soccer.

"When he had a winning team, he'd treat them to a limousine ride," said his wife of 28 years, the former Janice "Jan" Beadell.

Mr. Beauchamp was a Baltimore Colts, Ravens, Orioles, Terps and Capitals fan, and also followed college and high school sports.

"It was all sports, all the time," his wife said.

"Bill was a fun fellow, very joyful, and enjoyed a good time," recalled Mr. Plogman.

In 2009, Mr. Beauchamp was diagnosed with the disease that eventually took his life. He continued working until about a year ago.

In 2011, friends held a fundraiser for Mr. Beauchamp and his family, with more than 600 people attending. He kept in touch with them by email.

"I hope each of you will continue this outreach long after I'm gone. For some of you, this may be a new thing, for others I'm sure it is ongoing," he wrote. "Either way, please know that those suffering very often feel trapped, afraid, and despondent. A friendly face and a hug has more value to them than gold."

Mr. Beauchamp, who was gratified at the outpouring of love and affection that was extended to him, was sanguine about facing the end of his life.

"I am developing the curiosity of a child in my anticipation of what awaits. I'm pretty certain it will transcend my imagination," he wrote. "Look, the dog always dies at the end of the movie, but you go away crying for a life well-lived. That's all I ever really wanted to be to people. A mix of mischief, humor and unconditional love, with a whole lot of human gratitude thrown in."

He added, "Thank you all for being a part of my wonderful life."

Mr. Beauchamp was a communicant of St. Stephen's Anglican Church in Mays Chapel.

Plans for a memorial gathering to be held in January were incomplete.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Beauchamp is survived by a son, Stephen E. Beauchamp of Timonium; two daughters, Allyson B. Beauchamp and Margaret C. Beauchamp, both of Timonium; and three sisters, Starr Abaugh of Lutherville, Mary Craig of Timonium and Rita Bauhof of Bethany Beach, Del.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com