Stanley Victor Beckett
August 15, 1926 - June 18, 2007
Longtime Craig resident Stanley Victor Beckett passed away June 18, 2007, after a battle with cancer. He was 80.
Stanley Victor Beckett was born Aug. 15, 1926, in Craig to Irving Pierce and Louise Aldinger Beckett.
"Vic" had three older brothers, Arnold, Don and Bob, one older sister, Marie Binder, and one younger sister, Flo Hansen. He had many wonderful childhood memories growing up with six children in the house. He always said his mother was like one of the children, having fun until it came down to discipline, and then she ruled with an iron hand. His father's example of loving his mother carried through to the way Vic loved his wife.
Vic was ambitious even at a young age. He mowed lawns for 10 cents and delivered the newspaper before school for several years. He also worked for the dairy delivering milk.
His hero was his older brother, Arnold, whose influence and examples led Vic to make a personal commitment to the Lord. Vic lived every day trying to follow the Bible and doing all that would please God.
When World War II began, Vic's father was called to active duty. Soon after, his brothers went into the service. Vic helped his mother run the Texaco Bulk Plant while everyone was away. His brother, Arnold, was killed in the war, and as soon as Vic graduated from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After serving for 19 months, he was honorably discharged and returned to Craig.
He went to Colorado State University for a semester, but decided he should be working. He held several different jobs until his father went into a partnership on a ranch northwest of Craig. Vic became a rancher - he always referred to himself as a "dirt farmer."
Eventually, Vic, his father and his brother, Don, bought out the partners. Vic farmed wheat and raised cattle for 25 years. He enjoyed being a steward of the land, improving the pastures by building reservoirs, developing water sources, cross fencing and brush spraying. He loved ranching and passed his love for working the land to his son, Foster.
Vic's sister, Flo, introduced him to his future wife, Elizabeth Callaway (Betty Wood), a school teacher from Georgia. Vic was smitten and pursued her until he won her heart. They were married March 15, 1952. They made their home in Craig and soon after had their first child, Arnold "Ricky" Frederick, who was born with cerebral palsy. Vic and Betty always kept Ricky at home and cared for him. Two years later, they had Ann Elizabeth, and then Bettina and finally Stanley Foster. The children learned what true compassion and unconditional love are from Vic and Betty and the way they loved and cared for Ricky and the rest of the family.
After Vic sold the ranch, he sold real estate for a time and then took care of his aging mother, Louise. Vic kept a tractor in town so he could plow snow in the winter. He was always helping people out and seldom charged for it. His family teased him about his fan club of elderly ladies on his list who he plowed out.
Vic was a longtime member of the American Legion. He helped his father with the Memorial Day services and eventually took over reading the veterans' names and, with the help of his family, put flags on all the veterans' graves for more than 50 years.
This was the first year he was unable to read the names.
Vic was an active member of the Soil Conservation Service while ranching. He also was a board member of the First Federal Savings and Loan for several years. Vic was one of the founders of the Last Frontier, a group dedicated to preserving the history of the area. During the past 20 years, the group has supported museums around Northwest Colorado.
Vic could always be heard signing the old hymns, but would only sing in his truck, around the house or for his grandchildren.
Vic was blessed with a daughter-in-law, Debbie Beckett, and two son-in-laws, Jerry Magas and Bill Ebener. He treated them as his children and, in turn, was loved as a father by them, which brings us to his true calling - "Papa." His five grandchildren, Sara Elizabeth, Stanley Andrew, Peter Frederick, Hannah Louise and Colby Foster were the light of his life. Vic put his grandchildren first and was at every activity they were involved in. He was a super playmate and would play dolls, dinosaurs, school and trucks with all of them. He had the boys hooked on riding on his 3020 John Deere tractor from a very young age. He kept a pillow in the tractor so when they fell asleep they would be comfortable. All the grandchildren knew Papa was always there for them.
Vic called and wrote notes to family members and others as well, just to let them know he was thinking of them, either to encourage them or congratulate them on some accomplishment. Many people have said how much it meant that he cared enough to let them know he was thinking of them and their families.
Vic's life had order - God first, then his wife and then his children and grandchildren. He was a wonderful man, loving husband, caring father and awesome Papa. His desire for all is that they have a personal relationship with the Lord and live this life serving Him.
Throughout the various health challenges he faced, he always told of the wonderful care he received from the healthcare workers.
He was preceded in death by his wife of almost 50 years, Betty Wood; son, Ricky; parents, Irving Pierce and Louise; and his three brothers, Arnold, Don and Bob.