Harlan F. Beckemeyer
1930 - 2020
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Harlan F. Beckemeyer

Louisville - Rev. Dr. Harlan F. Beckemeyer, age 89, passed away peacefully on Saturday, June 20, 2020, at Norton Brownsboro Hospital in Louisville, KY. He was born November 30, 1930, to Edwin and Esther (Beckmann) Beckemeyer in Napoleon, MO.

Harlan attended Missouri Valley College, and transferred to the University of Missouri where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. After teaching high school vocational agriculture for 10 years, Harlan heeded the call to ministry. He graduated with a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO, in 1965. Eden awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1992. The day of Harlan's passing was the 55th anniversary of his ordination into the ministry.

Harlan began his career in ministry in the United Church of Christ (UCC) at the Federated Church in Kingfisher, OK. He served as pastor of St. Matthew UCC in Louisville from 1974 to 1994, and was interim pastor at St. Andrew UCC in Louisville in 1995 after his retirement.

Dedicating his life to the service of others, Harlan helped to establish the Shelby Park Neighborhood Association, serving on the board and at one point as president. In addition, he held board positions with Family Health Centers in the Portland neighborhood, Brooklawn (now Uspiritus), and Eden Seminary.

A lover of the outdoors, Harlan enjoyed gardening and regularly fed the birds in his yard. He was an avid reader and relished music - including playing the guitar, singing in choirs, and sharing his strong baritone voice. He attended a ministers' Bible study for decades. Most of all, Harlan loved his family and friends.

Harlan was preceded in death by Ann, his wife of 54 years; a brother, Howard Beckemeyer; and a brother-in-law, Raymond Drecktrah. He is survived by his children, Jim Beckemeyer (Carson) and Ellen Beckemeyer; a brother, Melvin Beckemeyer (Virginia); a sister, Carolyn Drecktrah; a sister-in-law, Eileen Beckemeyer; and a host of cousins and extended family.

Harlan donated his body to the University of Louisville School of Medicine. A celebration of Harlan's life will take place via a pre-taped service on July 9. Visitation will take place via Zoom on a different date. Please contact immediate family members after July 1 for details.

Expressions of sympathy may take the form of contributions to St. Andrew UCC (2608 Browns Lane, Louisville, KY, 40220); Eden Seminary (http://www.eden.edu); Family Health Centers (http://www.fhclouisville.org); or Uspiritus (http://www.bellewoodandbrooklawn.org).

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Courier-Journal from Jun. 27 to Jun. 28, 2020.
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11 entries
July 4, 2020
I was only 7 at the time, but I will never forget his hands. I thought he had hands just like Jesus. He would hold up his hand at the end of each service to send us out with the peace of Christ. I grew up feeling safe in Jesus hands. I'll never forget him leading singing during bible school, I stuck my head in a little skunks hole.
Years later, I found the sermon he did for my dads funeral (Phil Ray Major). I learned it was the first funeral Harlem had done. Rest in peace friend, I know God said well done my son. Blessings to you all, Valeria Major Loyall
Valeria Major Loyall
July 2, 2020
I am so glad that I was able to visit Harlan at Belmont Village in January. We reminisced about the time when he and Ann took my husband and me under their loving care the summer of 1967. My husband had just completed his third year of seminary. We were delighted to have to opportunity for an internship under Harlan's care at the Federated Church in Kingfisher. Jim, you were a toddler and probably don't remember us babysitting you on several occasions. And Ellen, you were just a gleam in your parents' eyes at that time. Chuck and I were deeply influenced by the gentle spirits of both of your parents and maintained ties over the years. When we retired in 2007 we were delighted that we could be so close to our dear mentors in Kentucky. When Chuck died in January 2016 I was surprised that Ann and Harlan had made the trip to Lexington for his funeral as we knew driving was becoming more problematic for them. This photo was taken in October of 2007 shortly after we moved to Ky. I will miss them both.
Mary McGaha
July 2, 2020
May God bless you and your family at this time. His was a life well lived in service to others!
Jim Marcotte
June 30, 2020
Ellen and Jim we are so sorry for your loss. He was a wonderful man and minister. Such an inspiration to our son for years. Prayers
Billie Harper
June 29, 2020
My deepest condolences for the loss of this wonderful man. He was a big presence in my youth and had a lasting impact on my Faith and in how I treated other people. He will always be a part of everyone he reached in his ministry.
Philip Brown
June 28, 2020
It is hard to decide who was more wonderful, Harlan or Ann. They were two of the kindest, helpful, encouraging people I have ever met. Harlan was like a gentle giant; so tall, yet never towering over anyone. He put others first and had the best hug ever. I am thankful that my brother introduced us to to Harlan over 30 years ago. My life was deeply enriched by knowing Harlan and Ann. My deepest sympathy to all the family.
Kit Tossmann
June 28, 2020
Dear Jim --
Darlene and I send our and thoughts and prayers to you and your family. If you're like me, he will live in your heart forever.
Dick James
Dick James
June 28, 2020
Although I did not know him personally, I experienced his = and his wife's - strength and loving kindness through his two children whom I had the pleasure of first knowing during their high school years. They are both caring, strong, intelligent people and I am grateful to know them. Bless you, Mr. Beckemeyer - Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest, dear man.
June 28, 2020
So many things one can say about Harlan, but most importantly, if everyone in the world would be more like him, we would all be living in harmony. Harlan imitated Jesus Christ in his loving, serving, kind & calm demeanor with people. He lived the teachings of Jesus. I will never forget him. He would join our youth group, along with our youth pastor Dick Beck and play volley ball with us. Harlan used to tease me about being a store detective; he was so fun. I remember his smile, it was infectious. In Harlans memory, I hope we will all strive (even more so) to be like Jesus. Deepest sympathies to Jim & Ellen, you are in my prayers.
Hope Proctor
June 28, 2020
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Elizabeth Martinez
June 28, 2020
Beautiful man! And like Ann, always cheerful and upbeat. A life well lived! My very best to Ellen and Jim during this difficult time.
David Aikens
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