November 16, 1953 – May 11, 2021
Shawn died peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday, May 11, at the age of 67. He is deeply loved and remembered by his wife Cathy Beaumont, all the Beaumont family (Rick, Angela, Steve, Maggie, Andrew and Will), all the Nasmith family, especially Shane, and his and Cathy’s many, many friends.
Christened Richard Shawn Laari, although never using his first name, Shawn was born in Etobicoke, Ontario, where he lived with his parents and brother, Casey. As a child and teen he excelled in the Boy Scouts and competitive swimming, later becoming both a Queen’s Scout and a member of the Canadian National Swim Team. Along the way, he graduated from the University of Toronto in 1976 and later earned both an MSc from Indiana University and a Master of Management from McGill University.
In 1978, Shawn landed a job as a fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Centre where, two years later, he met Cathy, a fellow instructor, for the first time. Three years later, in October of 1983, the happy couple were married, and eight years after that they moved to Vancouver.
Shawn spent his entire career in the charitable sector, assuming positions of steadily increasing responsibility at the Ontario Water Polo Association and Canadian Diabetes Association in Toronto, then BC Disability Sports, Muscular Dystrophy Association and BC Epilepsy in Vancouver.
Also a committed blood and plasma donor, Shawn made over 500 donations in his lifetime. He also gave freely of his time as a volunteer with a variety of organizations.
Shawn loved dogs, and when he and Cathy learned about Pacific Assistance Dogs (PADS), they decided that when their beloved dogs Woof and Kelly died they would become puppy-raisers for the organization. In 2000, they took on Riley, followed by Dylan, Gypsy, Breeze, Vader, Iroko and most recently Greco.
Shawn and Cathy loved travelling, visiting 55 countries at least once. Every day travelling was a great day, with new adventures around every corner, particularly if those adventures included craft beer!
In his retirement Shawn took up beekeeping, with two hives in his garden, and many are the friends and family members who have enjoyed Kitsilano Honey from Shawn’s hives.
Shawn was kind, giving, loyal, always ready to lend a hand and quick with a bad joke. His life was one of service to the community and the love of his family and friends.
In Shawn’s memory, please consider a donation to Pacific Assistance Dogs https://pads.ca/the-gift/ or the YWCA of Metro Vancouver. https://ywcavan.org/donate
We met briefly when you came to Steve & Maggie’s place to get the car, I was staying there at the time. I am so sorry for your loss and I wish you strength during this time and in the future.
My deepest condolences. I knew Shawn from his incredible volunteer work at PADS. He was always thinking of wonderful ways to motivate others to donate and support the organization that was close to his heart. Cathy, you are the love of Shawn’s life. It was always a joy to see you together and see great love and deep partnership. My heart goes out to Cathy and all of Shawn’s family. He will be greatly missed and always remembered.
Cathy, I am very saddened by Shawn’s sudden passing. Keeping you in my thoughts and sending you strength and love.
I am so sorry to hear of Shawn’s passing. My deepest condolences to you.
I will remember his bad jokes on our trip to South America and his love of beer.
With love and care from Louise 💕🙏
So very sorry Cathy. My sincere condolences.
I didn’t know Shawn, but I know how much he was loved by Cathy. I am so sorry for your loss.
Shawn was a dear friend. His generosity and kindness made the world a better place. I will miss him greatly.
Victoria Klassen Jeffery
Cathy we are absolutely gutted by the news. We were just saying to each other the other day how much we miss seeing you two regularly. We will miss Shawn very much and can can only imagine the loss you’re feeling right now. He was one of those people who only brought good to the world and he is gone much too soon. Much love from the both of us.
Cathy, I am so sorry for your sudden loss. I imagine that there really are no words that can offer the kind of comfort that needs to be shared during times like these. I never met Shaun but I could tell from the way you spoke about him that he was a kind and funny soul. After reading this, I am grateful that I now know a little bit more about the wonderful person that he was. Thinking about you and both your families during this difficult time.
My heart goes out to you Cathy. I am so sorry for your loss of Shawn. He was a very special person who made it possible, with you and many PADS dogs, to change peoples lives.
i’m so sorry for your loss Cathy. I know of you both through PADS and Shawn’s passing is a loss for everyone.
Cathy, please accept my deepest condolences. He will live on in our hearts and memories – such a wonderful man. I am so glad to have been able to spend some time with both of you so recently. His last donation was a great one! I know you have the strength to deal with this – may you also find peace.
Cathy, I never met Shawn but having followed your shared travels and passions for many years I know what terrific partners you are in every facet of life. May your memories of your wonderful life together be your blessing and support. My heart goes out to you in this time of loss and grief.
I was stunned when I heard the news about Shawn today. He was the best ED I ever worked for. He truly understood the needs of our clients and provided so much support to me so that we could meet those needs. I always hoped that our paths would cross again, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Take care and know that there are many people out here mourning your loss and supporting you in spirit.
Monette and Rob
Cathy, please accept our deepest condolences. We had just had our group meeting for released dogs and it was so nice to spend some time with you and Shawn and the others. Sending you strength during this difficult time.
Cathy, I am so sorry for your loss. Shawn was such a strong advocate for the PADS program and his influence was far reaching, in so many different areas. He will be dearly missed. Please know that your PADS family is here for you in any way that you need 💜
So very sorry to hear of Shawn’s passing. He will be dearly missed by the PADS family. You are in our thoughts and Puma and Caber are free anytime if you need some puppy love.
kevin and kay Mckay
mom and I are so sorry to hear of shawns passing.
I am so very sorry for your loss. In the short time I knew Shawn, his love and dedication to the dogs you both raised and PADS was demonstrated in many ways and was incredibly inspiring. My thoughts are with you and your family.
I knew Shawn through the Dunbar Beekeepers Club. He was always such a pleasure to work with and always willing to lend a hand to whatever activity we were doing. I could always count on him showing up for hive inspections and I truly respected and admired his consistent outreach to our volunteer group as well as so many others. The loss of Shawn will be deeply felt by our group. I am thinking about you in this difficult time.
So sad for your loss Cathy,
Shawn was a great bee buddy. His calm supportive nature was so appreciated. He will be greatly missed. Love to you and your family.
So deeply, deeply sorry to hear of Shawn’s passing. I can’t even imagine. All I can think of is that he was too alive – too engaged with life – to have left the world so suddenly. It is a poorer place without him; he will be missed by those of us who were lucky enough to feel his friendship, every time we visited.
All our love from Ontario, and hoping that our thoughts and prayers being with you is of some help. Definitely thinking of you, my dear friend.
I so admired you and Shawn in all your amazing adventures together. I’m grateful that you are surrounded by love and support to manage this journey moving forward. I have so many special memories of Shawn as a colleague at work, at the McGill McConnell program and as we reconnected during my subsequent visits to Vancouver. I will always remember him as a special friend !
So very sorry to hear about Shawn. We were close growing up , but with your move to Vancouver and everyone’s lives getting busier and more complicated we gradually lost touch. It seems like yesterday that the two of us camped out in the platform tent in his childhood backyard , went shopping for the perfect turntable that Shawn had discovered , traveling to Buffalo in his Porsche to find a treasured record album or attending the celebration dinner when he was named to the Canadian Swim Team for the Pan Am Games.
I will miss him.
Cathy, I am deeply sorry for you loss. Sending you much love and healing light.
Cornelia Corey & Ray McCoy
Ray and I are so sorry for your loss. May your wonderful memories keep him in your heart forever.
Oh Cathy, I can’t believe what I just read…I am so sorry to read of Shawn’s passing, and I cannot fathom what you are feeling at the moment. A wonderful guy and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to meet him. Sending all the positive and supportive energy that I can your way.
My heart is heavy after hearing the very sad news of Shawn’s sudden passing. My deepest condolences to you Cathy and although I don’t know you well, our connection through PADS brings this close to home. I hope you are surrounded by friends and loved ones to help guide you through this terrible time. My thoughts are with you.💕
Cathy, I only heard from the front desk at the Dunbar Community Centre about Shawn’s passing. Up until the pandemic struck, we had had many lively, engaging conversations across the exercise bikes over a period of years. I was always impressed by his formidable Velcro memory across a huge range of topics. He never seemed to forget anything and his erudition and wit will be missed by many of us in the Fitness Centre.
Very sad to hear of Shawn’s passing.I am also a Dunbar Community Centre Gym member who just recently found out due to the long COVID absence from my regular gym workouts. I spent many an hour pedalling next to Shawn while discussing an assortment of dog handling strategies to assist our older cockapoo in dealing with my son’s big young all black Shepard. Shawn gave me a number of great strategies to try (a lot of treats always involved) which have created harmony around the house when they visit.Shawn had a remarkable wit and his volunteer credentials were very incredible.We will miss him when normality returns and his absence on Bike #2 is felt.
Very sad to hear of Shawn’s passing.I am also a Dunbar Community Centre Gym member who just recently found out due to the long COVID absence from my regular gym workouts. I spent many an hour pedalling next to Shawn while discussing an assortment of dog handling strategies to assist our older cockapoo in dealing with my son’s big young Shepard. Shawn gave me a number of great strategies to try (a lot of treats always involved) which have created harmony around the house when they visit.Shawn had a remarkable wit and his volunteer credentials were very incredible.We will miss him when normality returns and his absence on Bike #2 is felt.