Richard H. Beckman passed away at home early Thursday morning, August 1, 2019, at the age of 79. His wife, Betty and children, Jennifer Beckman Epperley and Jason Richard Beckman were by his side. Richard was born on November 21, 1939 in Deerfield, IL to his parents, John and Dorothy (Strickland) Beckman, Jr. He grew up in Chemung, Illinois where he was a member of the Graduating Class of 1957 from Harvard High School in Harvard, Illinois. He met the love of his life, Betty Custard, in 1974 at the Officers Club at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. They were married in Chemung, IL and enjoyed over 45 years of marriage together.
After high school he enrolled in Northwestern Illinois University for one year, before deciding to join the Air Force. Richard and his brothers all served our country in different Branches of the Military. Richard proudly served our country in the Air Force starting in 1960 as an enlisted man working as a weapons control systems mechanic. Upon completion of Officers Training school in December 1964, Richard became a Commissioned Air Force Officer on December 21, 1964. During his tenure in the Military, he was selected to attend Arizona State University, where he was awarded a Bachelors of Science Degree in Engineering. Richard furthered his education by obtaining his Masters Degree of Science, Research and Development Systems Management from the University of Southern California. Upon graduating in 1969, He served one year in Viet Nam. Upon returning Stateside, He was selected by General Benjamin Bellis, who at that time was Commander of the Air Force’s Electronic Systems Division, to manage the Research and Development for the F-15 Fighter Jet.
During his career, Richard was also involved in many important projects; including the F-18, the Research and Development of the Space Shuttle while Commander of DECASPRO in Rockford, Illinois. He was the recipient of the Bronze Star, the Country’s highest Peace Time Award; Meritorious Service Medals with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters; Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with 1 oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award and several other Medals and Awards. He loved his country and was a proud American! After retiring from the Air Force, he worked in the Aerospace Industry and started his own company, BBD Development (Beckman Business Development), which represented Small Disadvantaged Businesses and Women Owned Companies.
He is preceded in death by his parents, John T. Beckman, Jr. and Dorothy Beckman; brother, Ronnie Beckman; son, Christopher Beckman; and Sister in law, Joanne Beckman.
Richard leaves many loving memories with his family; wife, Betty “Love of his Life”, of Tulsa; children, Timothy, Ret. Army of South Carolina; Angela Beckman Hamilton and Benjamin Beckman of Las Vegas; Jennifer Green Epperley of Tulsa; and Jason Beckman of Auburn, NE. He leaves behind six grandchildren; Maxine “Maxi” of Germany; Andrew and Erica “Ruthie” Hamilton of Las Vegas; Hannah and Sarah Green of Tulsa; and Mikey Joseph Beckman of Auburn, NE. There were many kids, who called him “Dad or Mr. B”. But four, who remain today call him Dad; Kenneth “Scotty” Schaller (daughters, Alexis and Ashley); Melissa Roberts (Holten, Harry, Evan, and Lilly), Aleasha “Alley”, and Brandy Heitman. He is also survived by ex-son-in-law, Major Nathan Green, USAF, and ex-daughter-in-law, Katja Beckman. Richard is also survived by two brothers, Bradley John and John T. Beckman, III; sister, Linda Beckman of Grays Lake, IL; Sister-in-Law, Catherine of New Mexico; and many nieces and nephews; and several great-nieces and great-nephews.
Family meant everything to him but the most important person in his life was his Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus! He believed that to be absent from the body meant he was in the presence of Almighty God.
He loved the outdoors, especially birds, bunnies and mountains and valleys. He was an avid golfer but never was able to golf after he officially retired.
Celebration Services of Richard’s life will be held 10:00AM Tuesday, August 13, 2019 at Harvard Avenue Christian Church, with Pastor Kevin Howe officiating. Graveside services will be held at a later date in Leo, IN, with military honors.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Richard’s name to the Tunnel 2 Towers Foundation, www.tunnel2towers.org and Wounded Warrior Project, www.woundedwarriorproject.org.
Arrangements are entrusted to Schaudt Funeral Service. Family and friends may send memories and condolences to the family online at www.schaudtfuneralservice.com