Andy Beattie

Andy Beattie, a city commissioner and former president of the La Canada school board, died July 27, 2014. (Courtesy of the Beattie family / July 30, 2014)

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Andy Beattie, a longtime community volunteer and public safety commissioner who was past president of both the La Cañada Unified School Board and the La Cañada High School Spartan Boosters, died Sunday morning.

The La Cañada resident was walking the family's golden retriever, Brodie, when he suffered a massive heart attack. He was 61.

Beattie's seat on the Public Safety Commission remained unoccupied Monday evening, as fellow safety commissioners remembered him during their regularly scheduled meeting.

"I've always admired Andy's ability to listen, to get to the heart of the matter, to kind of percolate, get to the issue and make people feel heard," said Commissioner Kay Linden, who knew Beattie as both a colleague and a friend. "He loved this community."

A 1975 graduate of Occidental College, Beattie was a loyal Tiger fan and a member of the college's alumni board. As a supporter of the Democratic Party, he volunteered for the White House's Office of Advance, a department responsible for coordinating the travel schedules of the president and press corps.

In that capacity, Beattie frequently traveled with U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. He recently traveled to Baghdad, Seoul, Warsaw and Mumbai, among other nations, on behalf of the White House.

Locally, in his six years of service on the Public Safety Commission, Beattie played an integral role in several citywide projects, including the recent adoption of the La Cañada "Alert LCF" notification system and its Local Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Councilwoman Laura Olhasso, a longtime friend of the family, recalled Wednesday Beattie's many contributions to the city and called his passing a loss to the entire La Cañada community.

"He was thoughtful, he was smart, direct and honest, which were traits I absolutely treasured," Olhasso said. "I can't imagine life without him in the world."

As a commissioner, Beattie worked in subcommittees responsible for reviewing the city's noise ordinance and updating La Cañada's often disputed filming ordinance, according to Peter Castro, a senior management analyst for the city.

"It's a big loss," Castro said Monday. "I really enjoyed working with Andy. He was a great commissioner, very fair, and always worked with everybody's interests in mind — he will definitely be missed."

Former La Cañada Unified School Board President Scott Tracy, elected to the board alongside Beattie in 2001, remembered his former colleague on Tuesday.

"He was a public service guy who put family first," Tracy said. "(And) he was a good school board member. Whenever things were stressful, he had this knack of lightening the mood with a joke or light-hearted comment. I always admired that."

Professionally, Beattie was senior vice president of Strategic Partners, Inc., a uniform and apparel company, where he headed the company's classroom school uniforms division. His interest in the industry led him to form a line of pajamas with wife Kim Beattie called Liz & Lauren, named after their eldest daughter, Lauren Elizabeth.

Beattie is survived by wife Kim Beattie, director of financial development at YMCA of the Foothills and chairman of the board of the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce; daughters Sarah, Katherine and Lauren; son-in-law Anthony Marino; mother Marilynn' and bothers Neil and John Beattie of Ventura.

He was preceded in death by father Louis Andrew Beattie, Sr., who died July 7.

A memorial service is planned for Aug. 10 at Occidental College, with details to follow. In lieu of flowers, and in the spirit of his commitment to community improvement, Beattie's family asks that donations in his name be made to YMCA of the Foothills to support the building of additional parking.