Russell Howard Beckwith

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East Lyme - Russell Howard Beckwith, 90, passed away at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital on Sept. 4, 2010.

Born in New London, Jan. 8, 1920, to Ethel H. and Howard E. Beckwith. He attended the Bulkeley School graduating in 1938 and Mitchell College in 1941.

He married Ruth E. Simons, daughter of William and Lea Simons on Nov. 15, 1942. He enlisted in the U.S. Army serving in World War II until 1943. After discharge, Russell inherited Gates & Beckwith, begun by his father in 1918. After 65 years, the business was sold. He continued the decorating portion as Decorating Services Inc. for 10 years until his retirement in 1991.

Russell served as president of the New London Lions Club, Thames Club, and Painting and Decorating Association, Connecticut Chapter. He was on the Mitchell College Board of Trustees for 51 years and other college committees. As a resident of Oswegatchie Hills Park, he served as club president and chairman of the membership, tennis, and several other committees.

A devoted parishioner of St. John's Episcopal Church of Niantic, Russell was lay chair and Sr. Warden of the Vestry, ushered for over 40 years, served on the building committee for the new church, and helped to establish a Memorial Garden at the parish.

He is survived by his wife, Ruth S. Beckwith of Niantic; his, daughters, Deborah Beckwith Sullivan (Michael) of Niantic, Diane Beckwith Sullivan of Burke, Va., and Shirley Beckwith of Newport, R.I.; grandchildren, Jill Pfanner Lloyd (Jay) and Robert D. Pfanner (Rachel) of East Lyme, Christopher and Amie Sullivan of Virginia; as well as a great-granddaughter, Morgan Lloyd.

He was predeceased by his daughter, Susan B. Pfanner.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Save the Hills Foundation, East Lyme Twin Haven, 39 Upper Pattagansett Road, East Lyme CT 06333, The FONHP, Inc., PO Box 163, Niantic CT 06357, or the Memorial Garden at St. John's Episcopal Church, PO Box 810, Niantic CT 06357.

Calling hours will be held at 10 a.m. and a service in thanksgiving for Russells' life with Holy Communion will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 9 at St. John's Episcopal Church, 400 Main St., Niantic.

To sign the online guest book, visit www.fultontherouxniantic.com
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Published in The Day on Sept. 8, 2010
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