Horace Beasley tried retirement once at age 56, but that got old after just a couple of months.
“I had nothing particularly to do but read,” the 94-year-old Forsyth County man said. “I was sitting there one afternoon reading a book, and I laid it down and I said to my wife, ‘This ain’t working. I got to do something.’”
After retiring as a district manager for Pet Milk, Beasley became a real estate broker and opened a business with some associates.
Beasley found he enjoyed the appraisal side of the job. In fact, he liked it so much he became an appraiser.
“You’ve got to have an accurate record of fair market value to compare,” Beasley said. “Most appraisers, including myself, would go out and ask a Realtor how much they sold a house for as second-hand information.”
He didn’t like that.
“I said, ‘To hell with this, I’m gonna go get the information myself.’”
Beasley went to the Forsyth County Courthouse and started flipping through past deeds and crunching numbers.
Then he went to Dawson and Lumpkin counties to gather more information, and pretty soon his phone started ringing. The banks were calling, looking for Beasley to fill them in on recent real estate purchases.
“I said to myself, ‘I’ve got something here,’” and within months he created the first copy of the Beasley Report, a monthly rundown of stats on every real estate sale in the county.
He continues to publish the Beasley Report, which in its 25th year covers 60 counties in central and north Georgia from the basement of Beasley’s home.
It is still a well-read document, according to real estate agent Josh Duncan.
“It’s a very helpful and well-respected document in the real estate business,” said Duncan, who knew Beasley back in the 1970s. “I’m just amazed at the guy. Ninety-four years old and still working.”
The two ran across each other a couple weeks ago at a bank, and to Duncan’s surprise Beasley was “exactly as I remembered him.
“He’s still just as smart as he ever was, and at 94 years old,” Duncan said. “Most people haven’t even been in Forsyth County for 10 minutes, then you got guys like him.”
Beasley’s seen a lot in 94 years. A native of Franklin, Tenn., he was a pilot in World War II after finishing high school in the middle of the Great Depression.
“Business men were jumping out of windows all over the United States,” he said. “These times right now, this is the worst it’s been since then.”
Beasley’s report is a good record of the recent economic slowdown.
“Before this recession came on, we’d have 900 sales a month listed in Forsyth County,” he said.
“Last month, there were only 370 in the report. I guarantee if I checked September three years ago, there would be 900 sales.”
Keeping track of records is a full-time job. Beasley’s daughter, Alice Lee of Forsyth County, saw that and they went into business together.
She and her father are co-owners of the Beasley Report, which ships to about 300 subscribers per month.
Lee speaks of her father and mother, Jonnie Beasley, 88, with much affection.
“They’re a great couple,” Lee said of her parents, who will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on Oct. 30.
The couple has two children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Lee said she and her brother, Thomas Beasley II of Cobb County, had a family get-together last week to celebrate.
“We had a great time,” she said, adding that her parents still do everything together.
“They just love to go out to eat,” Lee said. “They eat breakfast, lunch and dinner out. Dad’s favorite is Captain D’s. He loves fish. He says the reason he’s lived as long as he has is because he eats fish three days a week.
“It must have worked,” she added. “He’s still super sharp.”
Beasley said staying busy is the secret to staying sharp at his age. He’s done just that in Forsyth County. He was instrumental in getting the Rotary Club started, and he served on the Forsyth County Development Authority for 20 years.
“I can’t think of anything worse than having nothing to do,” he said. “I get up every morning to get with it, and if I get caught up on work, I pick up a book.”
His wife agrees he is a busy man.
“I’ve had him a long time,” she said. “That’s the secret. He stays busy. That’s why he’s lived this many years.”