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Gail Beckman

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Family-Placed Death Notice

DR. GAIL McKNIGHT BECKMAN Dr. Gail McKnight Beckman, Ph.D., 69, of Atlanta, international legal scholar and educator, died October 19, 2007 in Delhi, India. Dr. Beckman had recently attended the annual meeting of the International Bar Association in Singapore and was traveling when she died. Born April 8, 1938 in New York City, she was the second daughter of Irland McKnight Beckman and Dr. Elizabeth B. Hurlock. Her father was a former Pennsylvania Secretary of Banking and her mother was a best-selling author of child psychology manuals. Dr. Beckman began her long, distinguished academic career at the Spence School in New York City and the Springside and Baldwin Schools in Philadelphia. She held degrees from Bryn Mawr College (1959), Yale University Law School (1963), the University of Pennsylvania (1966), and Georgia State University (1988). As a Fulbright Scholar in Law, she taught at Eberhard Karls Universitaet in Tuebingen, Germany before studying at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (1975) and The Hague Academy of International Law in Holland (1977). She often returned to The Hague International Law Courts as a delegate. She was a lecturer in law with tenure at the University of Glasgow in Scotland (1967-1971) before joining the faculty of Georgia State University. A visiting scholar at the Institute for Asian and Comparative Law at Harvard University Law School (1979-1980), Dr. Beckman was also a guest professor on the Faculty of Law at the University of Tuebingen. She practiced law at the Legal Aid Society of Philadelphia (1961) and with the Philadelphia firm of Morgan, Lewis and Bockius (1963-1966). She also worked on arbitration tribunals for the Philadelphia Bar Association, the Legal Aid Society of Atlanta, and the American Arbitration Association. Dr. Beckman earned several awards and honors such as: the 500th Anniversary Medallion of the Law Faculty in Tuebingen (Fulbright Grant), Outstanding Educator of America, Outstanding Professor (Mortar Board), Faculty Appreciation Award (Phi Chi Theta), and Outstanding Services to the Law Student Program (National Association of WomenLawyers). She was a member of the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court and several states and authored numerous legal and educational articles, books and textbooks. Dr. Beckman was active in many professional and service organizations, including: American Bar Association, International Bar Association, American Arbitration Association, Georgia Bar Association, Georgia Association of Women Lawyers, Juristic Society Philadelphia, Yale Club of Georgia, Bryn Mawr Club of Georgia, Gerontology Center, the Joseph Habersham Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, National Society Colonial Dames in America, the St. Andrew's Society of Atlanta, Northside Shepherd's Center of Atlanta, Northwest Georgia Council Girl Scouts USA, Soroptimist International of Atlanta, United Way, and AARP. One of her most notable positions was the 1990 election to president of the National Association of Women Lawyers. Dr. Beckman loved to travel, swim, dance and fence. She was preceded in death by her parents and sister, Dr. Daryl E. Beckman, M.D. She is survived by her beloved pet rabbit and several cousins: William H. Hoffmann, Sr. and his wife Juliann, Audubon, PA; Jewel H. Hoffmann, Scottsdale, AZ; Curtis W. Magee and his wife Dana, Newport, RI; Kathryn McCorkle, Chandler, AZ; Ann Scully, Alexandria, VA; William Hoffmann, Jr., Fairfield, CT; Jon Hoffmann, Atlanta; Alison Frost, Westwood, MA; Andrew Magee, Acton, MA; and Melissa Hinwood, Snohomish, WA. Private burial services will be held at Christ Church in Philadelphia, PA.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Nov. 22, 2007
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