Harold I. Beckett age 95, of Lima passed away Thursday, Sept. 20.
He was the first born March 13, 1923 to the late Harry I and Vivian Evelyn Turner Beckett. He served in the combat infantry during WWII. He married Juanita Cannon Aug. 30, 1947, and she preceded him in death on Oct. 2, 2017.
His mom taught him how to sing harmony while they did dishes together. He also performed in Vaudeville playing a harmonica and accompanying himself with an accordion. He said he enjoyed waiting in the wings with the comedians although his mom did not approve.
He moved to Lima in the early 1950s and began teaching music for Shawnee Public Schools. He helped to organize an area Eisteddfod( Welsh singing competition). He later became an adjudicator for OMEA Music Festivals. Harold’s fondest memories were of working with the students at Shawnee High School. He enjoyed putting on Musical Theater with the help of his friend George Dunster at Shawnee High School.
He was the cantorial soloist for Temple Beth Isreal-Shaare Zedek for 60 years where he had many friends. Beckett was active with the Lima Civic Chorus and Lima Symphony Orchestra. He also served as choir director at Grace Methodist Church, Shawnee Methodist Church, First Baptist Church. After retiring from Shawnee Schools, Harold joined the music faculty at Ohio Northern University where he taught voice. He was proud that many of his former students went on to have successful careers in music.
During his career he studied at the Meadowbrook School of Music in Michigan and studied under Robert Shaw while attending the Tanglewood Music Festival where he was a soloist with the Robert Shaw Choral and Boston Symphony Orchestra. It was while studying at Tanglewood that he sang “The Old Oaken Bucket” for the 100th birthday of the artist Grandma Mosses and roomed with fellow student, Seiji Ozawa.
Harold Beckett is preceded in death by his two brothers, Carl Thomas (Margaret) Beckett and Harry (Dortha) Beckett.
Survivors include two sons: Thomas M. Beckett of Lima and Jeffrey W. Beckett of Cut Bank, MT.
Private family services and burial will be in Ft. Amanda Cemetery.
The family request any contributions be made to the Lima Symphony Orchestra.