Anthony Francis “Papa” Beckman, 83, died Friday, Sept. 6, 2019.
Mr. Beckman was born Aug. 19, 1936, in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., the seventh of 12 siblings born to William and Emma Beckman. He was married to Mary for 63 years.
He attended high school at the seminary at Saint Bernard Abbey in Cullman, where he met his wife. While at a school basketball game, he got her attention by throwing popcorn at her and the rest is a cherished history. They were married on May 31, 1956 and soon began their family.
He served in the Air Force for nine years as a linguist, where he became fluent in Mandarin. His career brought them to many different places with their growing family, one of their favorites being Taiwan. Being fluent in Mandarin was not only useful to his career but also to entertain his grandchildren and beloved son-in-law, Abdallah “Abby,” who would frequently request for him to speak it for them, and they especially loved to hear him order food in Chinese restaurants.
He received his bachelor’s degree from Our Lady of the Lake University and his Master’s degree from Houston Baptist University. He became a computer science professor for Houston Community College.
He also had a multitude of hobbies that he loved sharing with his family, including gardening; building, flying and crashing remote controlled airplanes; building model ships; astronomy; reading; fishing; sailing; and bird-watching.
He was a skilled woodworker and made countless beautiful creations that he shared with his loved ones. He loved the beach, and took many trips to Galveston and Rockport, which was Tony and Mary’s special anniversary spot. Above all else, he enjoyed spending time with his wife and family. They were his pride and joy.
To know “Papa” was to love him. He had a unique gift of developing a life-lasting bond with everyone he met. He was a kind and gentle soul who will never be forgotten. His legacy will live on forever.
He is survived by his wife: Mary; children and in-laws: Debra and Mark Vinsand of Riverside, Iowa, Tom and Joni Beckman of Ligonier, Pa., Anita Pellerine of Conroe, Texas, and Dana and Abdallah Rassy of Houston, Texas; 11 grandchildren and in-laws: Caroline and Mark, Joseph, Julie and Jeremy, Andrew, Cori, Cameron and Seton, Katrina, Anthony and Rachel, Matt and Ashton, Avery and Eric and Jami; six great-grandchildren: Tyler, Addie, Joss, Emme, Gracie and Ava; sister: Lourdes; brothers: Raphael “Dale” and Leo and a multitude of extended family members.
He was preceded in death by siblings: Rosa, Eva, Mary, Thomas, Bill, Bob, Chris and Bernadette; son-in-law: Keith.
A memorial service will be held at Saint Bernard Abbey graveyard chapel at a future time. Inurnment will be in the cemetery columbarium.
In lieu of flowers, memorial may be made to Saint Bernard Abbey, 1600 St. Bernard Drive, SE, Cullman, Ala., 35055; 256-734-8291.
Pallbearers will be Tom, Anthony, Matt, Joe, Andrew and Cameron. Honoary pallbearers will be Abdallah, Eric, Mark, Jeremy, Marc and Tyler.