James L. Beckett

4/14/1936 – 2/17/2021

James L Beckett passed peacefully on February 17th at 7:22 pm in the presence of his wife and family at Lenoir Retirement Center. Visitation will be Thursday, February 25th at Memorial Funeral Home 1217 Business Loop 70 West Columbia from 1-2:30pm. The funeral service will begin at 2:30pm and burial will follow in Memorial Park Cemetery.

In keeping with the guidelines put forth by the Boone County Heath Director all guests are required to wear a mask, to keep social distancing (six feet apart), cough into your sleeve and wash and sanitize your hands often. Friends are invited to join a virtual service via Facebook live, please visit www.memorialfuneralhomecolumbia.com and select the view livestream tab under services at the time of the service. If you are unable to view the service live, it will be available for replay on the Memorial Funeral Home, Crematory & Memorial Park Cemetery/Columbia Facebook page after the service ends.

Jim was born to Carl and Mae Beckett on April 14, 1936 in Camp Point, Illinois. Jim married his high school sweetheart, Helen Marie Hamilton on December 31, 1955. Helen preceded Jim in death on February 19, 1988. Jim married Shirley Marie Walkof on May 30, 1996. Shirley survives at the home. Jim attended Central Methodist College, graduating with a degree in Business from University of Missouri, Columbia. Jim worked as the Director of the Physical Plant from 1968 to 1984 to be the MU Director of Environmental, Health and Safety, retiring in 1999, His accolades include International Safety Council Service to Safety Award in 1998. President of Campus Safety, Health, Environmental Management Association in 1995.

He was a man of many talents and interests. Dancing was a passion he shared with both Helen and Shirely in the Huffs and Puff’s Square Dance Club, along with co-teaching Country Swing with Shirley. Jim was active in Toastmasters International mentoring many in the art of public speaking. Downtown Optimists was fortunate to have him as a member for 59 years, receiving a tree planting in his honor after 53 years of dedicated service in 2016, Optimists appreciated his special attention to Public Speaking programs, and tenacity in selling Koeze nuts and Christmas trees. Over his lifetime Jim enjoyed restoring and collecting cars with a known tally of at least 30 Ford Mustangs. He possessed a lifetime ticket to the Barrett-Jackson Automobile Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. His dedication to the antique car hobby and industry propelled his membership in several mid-Missouri clubs: Old Wheels Car Club, Mid-Missouri Model A Club, Thunderbird International Club. Jim shared Helen’s interest in 4-H which provided to be a foundation for their children as a Pinnacle Youth Park Director for 15 years and founding member of the Boone County 4-H Foundation.

Jim and Helen enjoyed raising three children, Connie (Steve) Mason of Gravois Mills, Missouri, Chris (Marcia) Beckett of Columbia, Missouri and Lisa (Brian) Wasson of Columbia, Missouri. Hia step-children include Duane Voth of Austin, Texas, Aurora Dawn Rose (Dave Langer) of Columbia, Missouri and Brian Voth of Mission San Viejo, California. Grandchildren brought Jim enjoyment and laughter, especially as they grew out of their toddler years. Patrick Mason of Gravois Mills, Erin (Mason) Seitz of Columbia, Nathan (Micaiah) Beckett of Rosedale, Indiana, Andrew (Lauren) Beckett of Fort Worth, Texas, Brandon (Amanda) Wasson of Columbia and Becky (Ben) Thelen of Columbia. And eight great-grandchildren. Jim was preceded in death by his parents and first wife Helen and siblings including Doris D. (Beckett) Oard and Donald Lee Beckett.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made in his memory to: Boone County 4-H Foundation and Boone County Hospital Foundation. Online condolences may be shared at memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com

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