Richard M. Beckstead

1931 - 2013 | Obituary Condolences
Richard M. Beckstead Obituary
Beckstead, Richard M. HMC USN (Ret.) ESCONDIDO -- Dick was born in Odgen, Utah on May 11, 1931 to Zan and Kathryn Beckstead. He died on November 7, 2013 in Escondido after a long illness. He spent his childhood in Preston, Idaho and enlisted in the Navy at the age of seventeen. He became a corpsman serving with Alpha Co. 1st Reg. 1st Marine Division as they landed at Inchon Korea and fought at the Chosin Reservoir. During his tour in Korea he was shot and suffered serious injuries earning him a Purple Heart. He later was assigned to Balboa Hospital in San Diego where he became the Navy's first Respiratory Therapist and worked in Research Surgery helping with the development of the first heart-lung machine. His final duty was aboard the USS Iwo Jima where he served three tours in Vietnam and had the responsibility of converting her from a 6 bed sick bay to a 300 bed casualty receiving ship. He retired in 1968 having completed 20 years of service. He went on to obtain his RN license and worked in hospitals as an emergency room nurse and later as a department head. He was a registered hypnotherapist. In 1981, he became a full-time farmer and stopped treating sick people and started treating sick trees. His company "A Grove Concern" was active for over 25 years. He served as chair of the Farm Bureau's Rural Health and Safety Committee and was a member of the Research and Development Committee of the California Avocado Commission. He also taught classes in first aid, heat injuries and pesticide safety for several professional organizations. That is what he did. This is what he was: A man with wide interests who was usually reading 3 or 4 books simultaneously. A humanist who was interested in and found value in every person he met, from the most accomplished to the most disadvantaged. A man with a keen sense of humor who never took himself or anyone else too seriously. A husband, a father, and a friend who would help anyone in any way he could. A pioneer. An innovator. A farmer and a healer. The world will be a little emptier without him. He is survived by his wife Judy; sons Richard, Kenneth, and Michael; daughters Sheryl Province, Allyn MacIntosh and Lynn Beckstead; eleven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Brothers Zan and Paul and sister Cheryl Hoover also survived him. He was predeceased by his brother Gary and his sister Kathryn Carter. Services with full Military Honors were held at Oak Hill Memorial Park on November 18th.
Published in U-T San Diego on Nov. 24, 2013
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