At 93, CL Beard reckons its time to close the door behind him

By Shawn Byrne

Sun Editor/Photographer

CL Beard sauntered toward his office not to finalize a contract for a property he helped buy or sell for a client, but to finally discuss his retirement. Beard is 93 years old, and even so, the humble man really doesn’t want to stop serving those who need his help.

“I’m still healthy and can be of service,” Beard said. “This year though, I’ve started losing my ability to recognize people, so it’s about time maybe I quit. I had no reason to earlier and no desire to.”

Beard, a broker associate with Century 21 Arizona West, has been with Century 21 in Wickenburg since 1998. He obtained his real estate license 42 years ago in 1977 after closing out a 20-year career as a life insurance salesman.

“I’ve spent my entire life being of service to people either in the life insurance business or real estate,” he said. “In addition to being active in insurance and real estate, I’ve been active in my church. I was ordained as a deacon in my church when I was about 30 years old in 1958. I do believe in being of service to people.”

Beard’s clients and fellow worshippers aren’t the only ones who have experienced his servitude toward them. Arizona West owner Ben Ruoti has earned Beard’s respect.

“He’s a good boss,” Beard said. “I’ve enjoyed the association with Ben. He’s an energetic go-getter.”

And that respect goes both ways.

“CL is the hardest working and most honest man I’ve ever met,” Ruoti said. “He always shows up for work, whether it takes a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, CL is there.

“The client is always primary with CL. We’re going to miss him.”

Beard shares his office with his wife, Carol Ann. As CL gears toward his last day at work at the end of the month, Carol Ann says she’s got a little more time to do.

“Not quite yet. I’m going to stick around for a bit,” Carol Ann said. “My license is up in April and, hopefully, I can (retire) then.”

The Beards came to Wickenburg in 1989 after buying Chaparral Ice Cream Parlor in 1986 when it was located downtown. When CL went to work for Century 21 in 1998, Carol Ann continued to operate the Chaparral. CL was selling real estate, but he wasn’t out of the ice cream business.

“He made the ice cream every night,” Carol Ann said. “He would work real estate all day and then come in at night to make ice cream.”

They sold the Chaparral in 2003 and Carol Ann went to work at Century 21 in 2004.

CL Beard has seen a lot, he also served as a prison guard at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., at the end of World War II, and has experienced a lot. What he’s going to do come Jan. 1 when he doesn’t have to report to an office has given him pause for thought.

“I have no idea,” he said.

Carol Ann sees that for what it is.

“That’s going to be problem,” she said.

One thing CL will get to do is hit the links more often. He can still golf in ‘90s and has shot his age at Wickenburg Country Club. His best score ever was an 89.

Beard will take December to be certain everything is in order at the office before he exchanges his start time at work for a tee time. He’s accepted that, but it doesn’t mean he has to love the idea.

“The reasons I’m quitting now is my hearing and remembering,” he said. “It’s been a good venture. I’ve enjoyed it and still enjoy it. I think it’s time to call it quits. Not many people are still working at 93.”

Beard turns 93 on Dec. 16.

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