Community activist, business owner and dance teacher Joan Bean, who died April 22, has been permanently and officially honored by the city she dearly loved. On Saturday, the auditorium at the Atlantic Recreation Center in Fernandina Beach was dedicated to her. Bean’s family was on hand for the ceremony.
Mayor Johnny Miller, who said he met Bean when he was a lifeguard working at the center and she was a water aerobics instructor, said that she often ended her lesson with a joke where he was the punchline. Other city commissioners also offered fond remembrances. “She was an example of a totally responsible citizen who always had interest in the community,” Vice Mayor Len Kreger said. Commissioner Phil Chapman said Bean was “a little lady full of spitfire.”
Commissioner Mike Lednovich, who ran against Bean’s grandson, Bradley, in the last City Commission race, said he was leery of meeting her during that campaign, but found her gracious and welcoming then and complimented Lednovich on the job he was doing as a commissioner. “I miss her spot where she sat, and I miss her at that lectern,” he said.
“In recognition and appreciation of Mrs. Bean’s lifelong commitment to mentoring this community,” the proclamation read. “She taught life lessons and was anchored in family values. Mrs. Bean transformed many area youngsters into capable young men and women competent to take up life’s ups and downs with hope and determination.”
Bean’s son, state Sen. Aaron Bean, said it was very fitting the auditorium was dedicated to his mother, as she, as a dance instructor and owner of Bean School of Dance, held many recitals in the building.
He recalled receiving an invitation from Gov. Ron DeSantis for him and his mother to have dinner with him, but being the community activist she was, she had other plans.
“She asked when it was, (and) I said next Tuesday,” Sen. Bean told those gathered. “She said, ‘So sorry, that’s (Fernandina Beach City) commission night. You’re going to have to tell the governor I have to come another time.’”