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James S. Beckwith

Obituary Condolences

BECKWITH JAMES S.
Jan. 21, 1932 - March 18, 2008
Beloved husband for 55 years of Alice Snodgrass Beckwith, he was the father of Kennedy Beckwith Nelson (Gordon) of Ligonier and Pittsburgh, PA; Kathryn Beckwith Gaier (Mark) of Vero Beach, FL and James Scott Beckwith, IV (Jennifer) of Lee, MA. He was the grandfather of seven granddaughters whom he treasured: Kathryn Scott Nelson; Elizabeth Gordon Nelson; Virginia Cross Nelson; Porter Ann Gaier; Margaret Ridgely Gaier; Maia Paige Beckwith and Findlay Grace Beckwith. He is also survived by a brother, G. Nicholas Beckwith III and his wife Dorothy of Pittsburgh. Jim Beckwith graduated from Shady Side Academy and Yale University. After serving in the Army for two years after graduation, Jim and Alice moved back to Pittsburgh where he spent his career presiding over the family business. He was the former President and Chairman of Beckwith Machinery Company and, like his father and grandfather before him, built upon the industrial might of the region and in doing so directed the growth of one of the largest private companies in Pittsburgh. Beckwith Machinery Company was a pioneer Caterpillar Tractor distributorship and thrived throughout its 97 year existence. Jim was a long-time Director of the Union National Bank of Pittsburgh, later Integra, an organization to which he gave wise counsel and dedication. He served on the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh Board for many years and in the early 90's led it as President. Jim was perhaps most affected by this organization because of the physical outlet and guidance it provided to so many, and particularly those less privileged. Jim took a special interest in children who deserved a break from difficult circumstances in their lives and made it possible for them to be educated with scholarships he provided. Among his many other non-profit associations, Jim served on the Homewood Cemetery Board and, for more than 30 years, the Boards of the Pittsburgh Eye and Ear Hospital, Institute and Foundation, generously supporting each. Throughout his adult life, Jim was very supportive of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. When he and Alice moved to John's Island FL, Jim took an active interest in Vero Beach. He donated the Sculpture Park at the Vero Beach Museum of Art. He was a benefactor of the Riverside Theater, deeply interested in McKee Botanical Garden , Saint Edward's School and The Indian River Medical Center, to name but a few. He enjoyed helping people and being with his beloved family. A Memorial Service will be held at the Community Church of Vero Beach on March 25th at 2 PM with a reception following at John's Island Club. At a later date, a Memorial Service will be held at St. Michael's Church, Rector, PA. Donations in Jim's memory may be made to Powdermill Nature Reserve of The Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Rector, PA 15677 and the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, 330 Blvd of the Allies, Pgh, PA 15222.
Send condolences at post-gazette.com/gb

Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Mar. 20, 2008
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