Anna Beckman shared love of dance, traveling with family

Monday, August 26, 2013 | 10:29 p.m. CDT; updated 11:22 p.m. CDT, Monday, August 26, 2013

COLUMBIA — Anna M. Winkelmann Beckman acquired many titles throughout her life.

Secretary. Ballroom Dancer. Pegasus Club member.

But the two most important to her were loving wife and mother, her husband and children said.

Mrs. Beckman died in her Columbia home on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, with family and friends at her side. She was 87.

She was born Jan. 26, 1926, to Edwin and Bertha Peterson on a farm in Richland.

She had little love for country life, though, so she moved to St. Louis with a friend to attend secretarial school soon after graduating from high school, her son Robert Winkelmann said. The two didn't know anyone there, but they quickly made friends, as evidenced by a box of photos Robert Winkelmann recently found.

Mrs. Beckman found secretarial work for governmental offices, Firestone, and the American Car and Foundry Company. She worked as an administrative secretary until retiring in 1990. When technology changed her profession, she embraced it, taking word processing classes and earning an associate degree.

Her husband, Joseph Beckman, fondly remembers her skills with a computer.

"She could type as fast as you could talk and never make a mistake," Joseph Beckman said. "She was an excellent secretary."

Mrs. Beckman married her first husband, William J. Winkelmann, shortly after World War II. He died unexpectedly from unknown causes in 1962, leaving Mrs. Beckman a widow at age 36, Robert Winkelmann said.

She remarried in 1968, but her second husband, John Foehr, died after they were married for nine months.

The deaths of her husbands were hard on Mrs. Beckman, her children said, but she found ways to persevere.

"She was a good mother who had to endure a lot that most women never do," her daughter Catherine Luth said.

Throughout her life, Mrs. Beckman loved to travel. In the '60s, she was a member of the Pegasus Club, a group of about 75 people who used a propeller plane to travel to places such as Cape Cod and the Caribbean. She also took trips in her car and on buses.

Mrs. Beckman also had a love for ballroom dance, which was how she met Joseph Beckman, her third husband. 

Joseph Beckman still remembers the day they met. He went to a singles dance, and during the circle dance he noticed Anna. He was paired with a shorter woman, and she with a shorter man. Mrs. Beckman's partner tapped Joseph Beckman's partner on the shoulder and said, "Ma'am, we've got the wrong partners."

Anna and Joseph Beckman shared the last dance together, and their relationship began. They married in 1983.

The two danced every Saturday night, Joseph Beckman said, and they sometimes traveled outside the state to participate in competitions and larger dances.

Mrs. Beckman had good times and rough times, Robert Winkelmann said, but her relationship with Joseph Beckman completed her in a way nothing else could.

"She met Joe and life was much better," Robert Winkelmann said. "Those were the good years."

Robert Winkelmann said his mother had a great retirement when she moved back to Columbia to be closer to family.

The hardest part of her passing, Joseph Beckman said, was at the end of her life when she couldn't recognize people and didn't know where she was.

"I knew the end was coming," Joseph Beckman said. "But I thank God for the time we had together."

Mrs. Beckman is survived by her husband, Joseph Beckman; a daughter, Catherine Luth and husband, Louis, of Yorktown, Va., son William Winkelmann and wife, Peggy, of Fayetteville, Ark., and son Robert Winkelmann and wife, Susan, of Columbia; a stepson, Ron Beckman and wife, Catherine, stepson Kurt Beckman and wife, Doreen, stepdaughter Monica Dixonand husband, David; a brother, Ralph Peterson and wife, Allene, of Waynesvillegrandchildren, Christine Bitzer, Laura, David and Michael Luth, Lydia Winkelmann, Molly Tegerdine and Maggie Winkelmann; and stepgrandchildren, Elizabeth and Andy Beckman, Eric Beckman, and Christina, Joey, Jacob and Jonathon Dixon

Mrs. Beckman's first husband, William J. Winkelmann, her second husband, John Foehr; a brother, Carl Peterson, and a sister, Ruth Zeigenbein, died earlier.

Memorial services will be held 3 p.m. Wednesday at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1600 W. Rollins Road. Memorial contributions can be made to the Lenoir Brotherhood Fund, 3700 S. Lenoir St., Columbia, MO 65201.

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