Rev. Dean H. Beckwith
October 27th, 1939 - October 18th, 2021
Rev. Dean's Obituary
Dean H. Beckwith, 81, passed away on Monday, October 18, 2021 in South Haven, Michigan. He was born on October 27, 1939 at South Haven Community Hospital to Esther and Merl Beckwith. Dean was a proud graduate from South Haven High School. While in high school he played football, the saxophone and was the drum major. He claimed he was the drum major because no one else could fit into the uniform. Upon graduation from high school he married Suzanne Niffenegger and attended college at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. Each summer they would return to South Haven where Dean would work as a milkman for Sherman’s Dairy. Upon graduation, Dean received a Master’s Degree in Theology. Dean and Suzanne had three children; Dirk, Karen, and Kimberly. In August 1965, they moved to Lake Orion, Michigan where he began ministry at King of Kings Lutheran Church. At the time, Dean accepted the challenge of establishing a new congregation at King of Kings. In April of 1970 they moved to Garden City, Michigan where he served the congregation of Good Hope Lutheran Church for 18 years. He married Marjorie Green in 1985 and moved to Washington, Illinois where he became the minster at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. In 1998, Dean retired from St. Mark’s they moved to Grand Junction, Michigan. Dean then became an interim pastor where he served congregations in southwest and southeast Michigan. From 2002 to 2004 Dean served as the Pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Allegan, Michigan. On September 13, 2008 Dean married a lifetime friend and love, Laura Digby. They lived in a house on Saddle Lake in Grand Junction. In August of 2020 they decided to move to a new home closer to South Haven. Dean and Laura enjoyed spending their time traveling, performing in Reader’s Theater, having family and friends to their home, helping community members who needed a helping hand, boating, and singing at the River Ridge Retirement Village. Dean was a lifelong Democrat. He enjoyed serving many civic and charitable organizations and serving on the Board of Senior Services of Van Buren County. He had many hobbies collecting beer cans, collecting more than 3,000 cans, all 50 state license plates, lawn ornaments, Avon bottles, electric insulators and anything he could talk Laura into letting him buy from a garage sale. For as much as he enjoyed being a servant leader in the community his favorite place to be was at home with Laura. He loved to read and watch TV in his chair, watch the lake, plant flowers, feed the birds, and catch squirrels and chipmunks to rehome them. As pastor, spouse, father and friend, Dean will be remembered most for his playful sense of humor, his openness to new ideas and his genuine love for and acceptance of others. He was an advocate for those less fortunate and the common man. Ministry was his calling. His sermons often included simple object lessons that made the gospel message memorable. He lived a lifetime of service to the Lord and to others .Dean is survived by his wife Laura, sister, Mae Markstrom, his children Dirk (Barbara) Beckwith, Karen Rickerman, and Kimberly Beckwith (Eric Partridge); three step children, Tim Sakulich (Diane), Mark Sakulich (Joanne), and Laurie Sakulich; grandchildren Megan Calamita (Tim), Kellen Beckwith, Andrew Rickerman , and Christian Beckwith, one great-granddaughter Alieya Calamita, seven step grandchildren, Katelyn, Jonathan, Michael, Emma, Lizzy, Nathan, and Josh; and one great step grandchild Josie Lehner. Visitation will be held held on Friday, October 22, 2021 at Filbrandt Funeral Home in South Haven, Michigan. Service will be held on Saturday, October 23, 2021 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Allegan, Michigan. Burial will be at a later date at the Columbia Township Cemetery in Grand Junction, Michigan. Charities: Senior Services of Van Buren,1635 76th Street, South Haven, MI 49090; Immanuel Lutheran Church, 631 Grand Street, Allegan, MI 49010; or Wittenberg University, PO Box 720, Springfield, OH 45501-0720
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