You might be surprised to learn that I was fortunate enough to know Mr. Burt Shavitz, the man the world came to know as "Burt" from "Burt's Bees." The Bee Man. I was very saddened to learn of his passing on Sunday, at the age of 80, due to respiratory failure. In some ways, I felt as though Burt was one of those iconic men, who would just somehow live forever. Burt, lived in my small hometown of Dexter, Maine. Or, maybe it was I, who lived in his small town. He showed all us school children that bees were not to be feared, but loved. He delivered my parents beehives every spring for pollination of their organic gardens. He waved at me in the grocery store and told jokes with my Mom and Dad. Even my husband had the pleasure of meeting him at my house one summer and was amazed at what a simple, kind soul Burt was.
In all honesty, as I became an adult, Burt fascinated me on so many levels. A man born in the heart of NYC, who was a soldier and a published photographer for Time magazine, who left it all behind for a simple life in the country. A millionaire to whom money meant nothing as he continued to live his life out in a converted chicken coop and drove a pick-up truck older than most. Burt's obituary read that he "left for greener fields and wilder woods. He was a wildly bearded, free-spirited Maine man, a beekeeper, a wisecracker, a lover of his golden retriever, and, of his land."
For this humbled man of few words, I made a simple card in his honor and memory:
"Bee Happy." It's that simple and I know Burt would agree.