Officer Beaton was 48 years old when he interrupted a Sunday morning burglary, July 27, 1919. He was on foot patrol when he heard an explosion inside the Kinney Meat Market. When he walked to the rear of the market, he was shot by a “lookout” at the rear door. It is believed that it was 4 or 5 burglars who had broken into the building and blew the store’s safe with nitroglycerin.
This still unsolved murder left his wife Mary with two sons, Ronald (age 4) and Vincent (age 2). For several weeks after the murder, Vincent was heard crying out for his “Papa.” Vincent’s “Papa” was known for his kindness and generosity, not just to his family and friends, but to everyone he came in contact with.
A fitting memorial was the dream of Officer Beaton’s son Vincent. In 1993, as a result of his lifetime dedication to the father that was taken from him as a child, a granite memorial was dedicated in Superior’s City Hall to honor all of Superior’s police officers that have been killed in the line of duty. Vincent had vowed never to rest until such a memorial recognized the commitment of his father. Just a short year later, Vincent joined his “Papa.”
A great concern of Vincent’s was that an officer should not have to die to be recognized for their work and that an appropriate place be set aside to honor those that are the most deserving.
In 1998 the State Fire and Police Hall of Fame opened within the Old Firehouse and Police Museum in the City of Superior to do just that. Officer Finlay Beaton was the first inductee of the Hall of Fame. This Hall of Fame is a tribute to that two-year old boy who loved his “Papa.”