Sam Beall, R.I.P.: Tennessee Luxury Hotelier Killed Skiing at Beaver Creek
Last month, we noted that skiing deaths at Colorado resorts have been down compared to recent years.
In the conclusion of our Taylor piece, we wrote: "We offer our hope that the casualty figures at Colorado ski resorts continue to shrink to the point where posts like this one become obsolete."
Unfortunately, this happy day hasn't come quite yet — and the latest resort death, involving Sam Beall, has left an entire community in mourning.
A 39-year-old father of five, Beall was the proprietor of Blackberry Farm, a luxury hotel in Walland, Tennessee, not far from Nashville, which went from a family property to a national travel destination.
Here's his bio from the hotel's website:
Beall was born at Blackberry Farm and makes it his family’s home today. Falling in love with the woods and the fields of Tennessee, the farm drew him back after living 14 years in Alabama when his father’s business was based in Mobile, Alabama. After attending The University of Tennessee and The California Culinary Academy, Sam had the good fortune to apprentice at The French Laundry, where he worked in the dining room, the kitchen and the garden. Also, working at the Ritz-Carlton, Cowgirl Creamery and California wineries, he fell in love with heirloom ingredients, artisanal food products, wine and a way of life not previously seen to his years growing up.
As the proprietor, Sam honors his parents by protecting and evolving the unique place that they originally discovered in 1976. During his leadership, the farm has seen the evolution of the Farmstead, the Wellhouse, expansion of retail program, the creation of two new restaurants, and the accumulation of accolades ranging from Travel + Leisure’s Number 1 hotel in North America, Bon Appetit’s #1 Hotel for Food Lovers, and three James Beard Awards. Along with his wife, Mary Celeste, and their five children, Sam lives — and cooks — from the farm. Blackberry Farm is, to him, not simply a business, but his life, and he brings equal measures of passion, celebration and knowledge to Blackberry Farm and the effort to continue to raise the level of service and experience to new heights.
Learn more about Blackberry Farm in a video from WBIR-TV.
This rich life was tragically cut short on Thursday, February 25, when, according to the Vail Daily, Beall died of blunt force trauma after crashing into a post that holds signs on a Beaver Creek ski run.
Once news of Beall's death broke in Knoxville, the tributes poured in.
For instance, The Blue Streak blog focused on Beall's contributions to the Knoxville community as a whole. Here's an excerpt from its tribute:
We are truly a much better place because of him and the great people he helped attract and develop.
Sam Beall and Blackberry Farm also have been generous supporters of our artistic and cultural community, in particular the Knoxville Museum of Art, which benefited from Blackberry and Beall’s involvement in the hugely successful annual fundraiser, L’Amour du Vin. For the past several years, Blackberry has been the locale of a fundraising Chamber performance by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, bringing in a substantial chunk of change for KSO’s operations.
And, in a mutually beneficial arrangement, Blackberry has been a major sponsor of the annual International Biscuit Festival and the Southern Food Writing Conference held each year in May in downtown Knoxville and at Blackberry Farm.
The funeral services for Beall took place yesterday in Walland.
We offer our sincere condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of Sam Beall.
Look below to see another WBIR piece, this one focusing on Beall.