Hans Beets
It is with sadness that we learned of the passing on November 23 of our member and long-time Rotarian, Hans Beets.
Hans was born in Indonesia to Dutch parents, and lived there for the first two years of his life. When the family moved back to the Netherlands, he was to spend the next 23 years there. While studying in the USA at Caltech in Pasadena, California, he met his first wife, Beatriz. She was Mexican and they were married in Mexico. They had four children together. After a few years they moved to the Netherlands, and back to Mexico again. Hans lived 22 years in Mexico and then 23 years in California. In 2006 he came back to Mexico to retire.
During his stay on a farm in the Netherlands during the Second World War, Hans was thinking of a veterinarian or agricultural career. But because his friends were interested in chemistry and were all going go to the University of Leiden, he decided to join them. He studied Bio Chemistry and earned a Ph.D in Chemistry from the University of Leiden. During his studies in the USA he served as a Fulbright Scholar and as a research fellow at Caltech, and at Yale University.
Hans' working career started at Akzo Nobel. But he felt that science, and working as a research scientist was not for him. He decided that he preferred a more business environment. So he went to work for Ciba Geigy (now called Huntsman) in Mexico. He liked that job because it had to do with technology transfer and he also enjoyed the social benefit of it.
Later in his life his career changes were not by choice, but because of economic circumstances. He worked for Shell, he was Co-Director of the Water Program at the Institute of the Americanas (IOA) at the University of California, San Diego, and he founded his own company, Hitech Trade & Transfer. In addition Hans served twice as Honorary Consul for the Netherlands in Guadalajara.
When Hans retired, he became very interested in ecological villages, visiting them and reading about them and his dream was to form a co-housing project on his property.
When he was younger, Hans enjoyed playing field hockey and did a lot of sailing. Once retired, he studied birds and butterflies and cacti plants. He spent a great deal of time on his beautiful cacti garden, and wrote his memoirs.
Hans' first involvement with Rotary dates back to the mid 1950’s at Caltec, California, where they organized outings for foreign students. He then learned about Rotary. He wanted to get involved and he was a guest speaker at ten different Rotary clubs in the Los Angeles area.
Hans became a Rotarian in 1963, in the town of Ocotlan, where he was invited to the Rotary Club. He had made news there because he had organized a sailing day. In 2008 he transferred from the Rotary Club of Escondido in California to the Rotary Club of Ajijic.
In his early years with our Club, Hans was regularly consulted on water issues. Until his health began to fail him, he never missed a Rotary meeting. Hans leaves behind two sons and two daughters, and six grandchildren.