In Memory

President Beckham VIEW PROFILE

President Beckham

Obituary for Raymond Earle Beckham

Raymond E. Beckham, one of Provo's well known community and church leaders, and a BYU administrator and faculty member for 42 years, passed away of "TMB" (too many birthdays) on October 31, 2017.

He was born February 18, 1927, in Chandler, Arizona, to Charles and Quintilla Spurlock Beckham. After his father died in 1942, he lived with relatives in Safford, Arizona, for his last two years of high school. In Safford, he was chosen as the outstanding student athlete, and served as editor of the high school newspaper. He also completed all requirements for a pilot's license, claiming that he "got his pilot's license before his driver's license" (Arizona did not require a driver's license in those days). After graduating from Safford High School, he attended the University of Utah and played football there. After military service during World War II, during which time he converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he enrolled at Brigham Young University. As a BYU student, he was student body vice president, member of Intercollegiate Knights and Blue Key, a member of the football team, and was business manager of the student newspaper. During his senior year in 1948, he was appointed to represent the student body on the committee to raise money for the new George Albert Smith Fieldhouse. 

At BYU he met Ida Lee Jackson, from El Paso, Texas. They were married June 17, 1947, in the Mesa, Arizona Temple, and are the parents of five children. She died in 1994. They have 19 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren.

He then married Janette Callister Hales, the widow of Dr. Robert Hales, in 1995, who also has five children, along with 14 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. The two of them have enjoyed a wonderful 22 years together.

After graduation in 1949, he worked for Taylor's Department Store as advertising manager, then accepted a position at BYU in the Extension Division. While there, he organized the BYU Evening School and the Travel-Studies Department. He later became Director of Public Services (with a mandate to increase BYU's enrollment from 4,500 to 10,000), Director of Alumni Relations, Director of Development, and then served 21 years as Professor of Communications before becoming the Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications. While he was alumni director, BYU became the first university in the United States to computerize their alumni records. It was during that time that he founded the Aspen Grove Family Camp and Conference Center, started the BYU Alumni Fund, supervised the construction of the BYU Alumni House, and co-founded the BYU Cougar Club. He served on the BYU President's Council for nearly 20 years and on the BYU Athletic Council for 21 years.

He was appointed Director of Development in 1964, and organized BYU's first continuous fund raising program. Among the projects coordinated by him were the BYU Football Stadium and the Marriott Center, along with many scholarship funds, endowments, and, later, the BYU Museum of Fine Arts. He established offices in New York City, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake City.

After 21 years in the BYU Administration, he took a sabbatical leave from BYU to complete his PhD in Communications at Southern Illinois University in 1972, after which he joined the BYU Communications Department for the next 21 years. He retired in 1992.

As professor of communications, he taught classes in advertising, public relations, and communications theory. He was convinced that BYU students could compete nationally for good positions in communications, and organized an internship program in New York City so students could gain experience and see for themselves how well they could do. He took 40 students to New York City during the summer months in 1977 and again in 1978 where they worked in major advertising agencies, public relations firms, and television and news media.  That program in BYU's School of Communications still exists today.

Upon his retirement from BYU in 1992, he joined NuSkin as Director of Corporate Communications. Following his two years at NuSkin, he was a full-time volunteer in the Public Affairs Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for nearly eight years—the last four of which he and his wife, Janette, served on the Church Olympic Coordinating Committee. He has served on boards of directors for more than 20 corporations, and as a communications consultant for many others. He served on the board of directors for Covey Leadership Center for eight years and in Washington, D.C. as Deputy Director of Polling and Planning for the Reagan-Bush reelection campaign in 1984. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Congress in 1982.

In community service, Dr. Beckham was President of the Utah National Parks Council of the Boy Scouts of America; Chairman of the Board of the Utah County Chapter of the American Red Cross; Chairman of the Provo Economic Development Committee; Founding President of the Provo Downtown Alliance; President of Deseret Village (for special needs adults); and has worked in such activities as United Way, March of Dimes, Cancer Crusade, Provo Christmas Festival, America's Freedom Festival at Provo, the Governor's Mansion Restoration Committee, the Governor's Initiative for the Family, and on the Utah Centennial Ambassadorial Committee that hosted ambassadors from 55 nations during Utah's 1996 Centennial Celebration.

In Church activities, he has been a Scoutmaster, High Councilman, Bishop, Stake President, Mission President, Regional Representative of the Twelve, member of the Provo Temple Presidency, member of the Church Melchizedek Priesthood Committee, and member of the Church Adult Curriculum Committee. He served as chairman of the Church Home Teaching Committee and the Church Single Adults Committee. He was on the site selection committee for the Provo Temple and was one of the original Temple Sealers at the time of its opening in 1972.

He has been awarded the Presidential Medal from BYU, the Alumni Distinguished Service Award, the student body's Outstanding Manhood Award, The BYU Franklin S. Harris Award, and was inducted into the BYU Athletic Hall of Fame. He also received the Rotary Club's Service Above Self Award, Provo's Abraham O. Smoot "Outstanding Citizen" Award, Scouting's Silver Beaver Award and its Outstanding Citizen Award; the "Red Cross Clara Barton" award, the "Modern Pioneer" award from the National Sons of Utah Pioneers; and the Utah Parks and Recreation Award for outstanding service to parks and recreation for his voluntary service in gaining approval for the Provo Recreation Center. He also worked for the past three years in directing the placing of sixty benches and historical plaques in Provo parks and along the Provo River Trail.

He is survived by his wife, Janette, and his five children: Raymond, Jr. (Elaine Tyler), St. George; Randy (Vicki M.), Sandy; Renae (David M.) Willes, Orem; and Raleen (Richard S.) Wahlin, Provo; 19 grandchildren; and 25 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by Janette's five children: Ann H. Nevers, Pocatello, ID; Thomas C. Hales, Pittsburgh, PA; Jane H. Ricks (Daniel J.), Salt Lake City; Karen H. Parkinson (Mark D.), Boise, ID; and Mary H. Bates (Blaine F.) Littleton, CO; and her 14 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife, Ida Lee Jackson; two sisters, Lorraine Peterson Ashe and Anna Laree Self Bushman; a brother, Rodric and his wife, Mildred Jancar; and, most recently, a son, Eric (Rick) and his wife, Vicki Beal.

Funeral services will be held at 12:00 noon, Saturday, November 11, 2017 at the Oak Hills Stake Center Chapel, 925 E. North Temple, Provo, Utah. Friends may call at the Berg Mortuary of Provo, 185 East Center Street, Friday, November 10 from 6-8:00 p.m. and at the church Saturday from 10-11:30 a.m. prior to services. Interment, Provo City Cemetery. Condolences may be expressed at


  Post Comment

11/11/17 01:13 PM #1    

Dianne D. Baxter

I am greatful and so full of love for President and his family. I know this is a difficult but glorious time in memory of his great life and his service to Father in Heaven, his Savior,  his family, his missionaries, and his community.  He goes down as one of the Great Men of the Earth and in the Church.  I wish I was at his funeral, but I had a procedure at the Hospital that will not allow me to drive down, I will be singing in my heart with all of you. Sister Beckham taught me that song, it reminds me of her. I pray for all of you especially the family to have a peaceful and beautiful day.  With all my Love! Dianne D. Baxter

  Post Comment


Click here to see President's last Profile entry.