William Ray Becknell
William Ray Becknell MT. PLEASANT - William Ray Becknell, age 62, ended the earthly phase of his life in his home in Mount Pleasant, SC on July 15, 2010. He was the youngest son of Ray and Ruby Becknell. Born in 1947 in Lexington, Kentucky, Bill attended Shepardsville High School. He went on to attend the University of Kentucky and graduated in the spring of 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music. Bill moved to South Carolina and got his start in music education by teaching at Vonkolnitz and Moultrie Middle Schools. He also developed many budding musicians by teaching private piano lessons. Bill attended the University of South Carolina and received a Masters degree in Music Education. He taught at Wando High School as the choral and music educator from 1976-1980. In 1990, Bill was awarded a second masters degree from the University of South Carolina in Organ Performance, studying under organist William Bates and choral conductor Arpad Durage. Bill started at Christ Our King Catholic Church in 1980 as a cantor and quickly moved to the role of organist. In 1982, Bill became the Director of Music Ministries. One of Bill's greatest joys was the success of the Christ Our King Music program. He put his heart and soul into developing its many programs including a 50-voice adult choir, several youth choirs, adult and youth handbell choirs, a 22-person cantor program, a funeral choir, a program to provide music ministries to local nursing and assisted living facilities, as well as working with a variety of instrumentalists and accompanists. The Christ Our King choir has performed internationally and appeared multiple times at Piccolo Spoleto, in the Festival of Churches. In addition to directing the Christ Our King music program he was the Conductor and Director of music for the Charleston Opera Company from 1973-1980. He acted as the Director and accompanist for the Charleston Renaissance Ensemble. He was a member of the National Pastoral Musicians, the American Guild of Organists, and American Choral Directors' Association. Bill is survived by his loving partner of twenty-six years Mary Beth Brock, his son Kevin and his wife Roxanna Brock, a brother Robert and his wife Julie Becknell. Visitation with family and friends will be 12 NOON - 3 PM and 5 PM - 7 PM, with Rosary recited at 5 PM, Thursday, July 22, 2010, at McAlister-Smith Funeral Home, Mount Pleasant Chapel, 1520 Rifle Range Road. Mount Pleasant, SC 29464; 843-884-3833. The Liturgy of Christian Burial will be 10 AM, Friday, July 23, 2010, at Christ Our King Catholic Church, 1149 Russell Drive, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464. Interment to follow at Mount Pleasant Memorial Gardens. Memorial Contributions may be made to Christ Our King Choir. Online condolences may be sent to the Becknell family via www.mcalister-smith.com. Arrangements by MCALISTER-SMITH FUNERAL HOME, MOUNT PLEASANT CHAPEL. Visit our guestbook at www.postandcourier.com/deaths

Published by Charleston Post & Courier from Jul. 18 to Jul. 20, 2010.
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59 Entries
Mary Beth Brock
July 12, 2020
Dear Mary Beth, we got home from an extended vacation yesterday and saw the info about Bill's death in the church bulletin today. we are in shock. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you. If we can be of any help please let us know.
Barbara and Frank Dugas
Barbara & Frank Dugas
August 1, 2010
I will never forget that smile. He cared so much for his students and could always find something positive in us. (For s bunch of 7th graders that is a real challenge) May God hold you in the palm of his hand during these diffucult times.
Neila Stroman
July 29, 2010
Bob, Julie and all the family, I am truley sorry for your loss. This is never an easy time. I hope you were able to give him your love and peace in the days and years before he left. Miss you and hope you have peace, Rena Felske
July 27, 2010
I was shocked to learn of Bill's sudden illness and death. Bill Becknell touched so many lives in so many unique ways. I was first introduced to Mr B in the 7th grade. I had just moved to Mt. Pleasant and needed a venue to meet people and to give me the confidence to succeed in a new school. Mr. B helped me find my voice. Of all the teachers I had throughout the years, Mr. B influenced me the most. I will never forget his gentle guidance, his love and support for all of us lucky enough to be part of his music family. My thoughts and prayers are with Mary Beth and Kevin.
Lisa Blanton Safford
July 26, 2010
Mary Beth and Kevin,
We are so sorry to hear about Bill, What a great guy, He made a great impact in our lives when we all got together. Bill will be singing with Ben and Glenna. The Lord will take good care of him. The Crenshaw Family.
Mark, Marti, Jessica and Cody Crenshaw
July 26, 2010
Duffy Kehoe
July 26, 2010
My thought and prayers are with you MAry Beth and Kevin, and for all my family who is shocked by Bill's sudden illness and death. At time like this I wish I was closer. I hope that you find peace and comfort at this difficult time.
Margaret Clermont
July 26, 2010
My brother Bill. I will never forget you buddy. You gave me great advice, helped me when I was down and out, made me laugh a million times and always seem genuinely interested in what was going on in my life.

Mary Beth and Kevin and Bob, this sucks!

We'll get through it together!

Love you guys.
Matt Kehoe
July 26, 2010
Few people are able to do what they love for their entire life, but Bill was able to do that. I knew him many, many years as he was my cousin and only a little more than 1 yr. older than I. Becky was right when she said he lost all track of time when he was 'at one' with his music. He was a loving, compassionate, talented man who loved music, his family and his God. He had the ability to make you do things you did NOT want to do using whatever means necessary. But he was your biggest supporter when you succeeded!! He was funny and his smile and laugh is what I'll miss the most..........that and his wonderful hugs. Our family will never be the same, but we are rejoicing with all of Heaven that Bill is being 'sheltered in the arms of God' and leading the heavenly choir which will include his mom, my mom and our grandmother for starters. Love & prayers to MB, Kevin & Roxy and to the rest of our family during this trying time. Thank you to all the choir members who embraced us at the funeral and visitation and shared memories, it was so appreciated. The funeral service was so beautiful and I know Bill is very proud of each of you. Thank you for sharing with the celebration of his life.
Donna Wyatt-Smith
July 24, 2010
Mary Beth and family,
I was stunned when I received the news and felt a great loss to the world of music liturgy in Charleston. Today, though having attended the funeral mass feelings that Bill was and is always in the music of the liturgy will touch me forever. Know that my prayers and thoughts are with you.

Love and God bless always,
Espie Jones Melling (Bob's little sister)
Esperanza Melling
July 23, 2010
Mary Beth and Kevin,
We all loved Bill very much. He was a joy to sing for in the choir. I will miss seeing him and hearing his beautiful music every week. God must really be enjoying his talents!

Linda Nelson
Linda Nelson
July 23, 2010
Mary Beth and family,
I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
Margaret Fuller
July 23, 2010
Mary Beth and Kevin -
So sorry to hear this news. Bill was an amazing person who shared so much with so many. The best teacher I ever had by far! He will be missed, but just know that the aura of so much love he shared and received in his full life will somehow help you through this. Godspeed, Bill.
Cyndy and Pepe Hernández
Cyndy Hernandez
July 22, 2010
Cyndy and Pepe Hernandez
July 22, 2010
Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Bernard & Susan Linney
July 22, 2010
May these few words help confort you and to know other care. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Carolyn Kiracofe
July 22, 2010
See how we all love one another through the music and friendship Bill brought to our lives! I know my own life was made richer and my faith stronger because of Bill's influence. May God's love, comfort, and peace be with you.
Peggy Bayne
July 22, 2010
Mary Beth and Kevin, I can't tell you how much of a spiritual friend and music mentor Bill was to me. I offer my sincere condolences and will keep you and Bill in my prayers. I know that we can rest assured that Bill is now living in the joy of the Most heavenly of choirs. (Drew Ruddy - Moncks Corner, SC)
July 21, 2010
Mary Beth,
I will miss seeing and hearing Bill playing music in the halls of the Institute of Psychiatry during Yuletide. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. May memories of your past joys with him lighten your sorrow today.
Steve McLeod-Bryant
July 21, 2010
We did not know Bill personally but he added many hours of prayful joy to our hearts in meditation and song. He was blessed with a beautiful gift that he was able to share with so many. I know (without reservation) that our feelings reflect those of all who worship at Christ Our King. He will be remembered in our prayers but missed in our hearts.

Our sympathy to all.
Ike and Kathy Pundt
July 21, 2010
I am so sorry for your loss. Mr. B. was a great inspiration to me during my school years - he first taught me in 7th grade at VonKolnitz, where I was blessed with performing in "Patience", then in 8th grade, where again I was blessed to perform in "The Me Nobody Knows". Mr. B. gave me confidence in so many ways, but especially to sing. He will be missed, but all the good memories will help to keep the memory of him alive.
Dorothy Johnson Burris
July 21, 2010
David Graham
July 21, 2010
Mary Beth and Kevin,

Please know that you are in our prayers and Bill will truly be missed. He was one of a kind....and definitely one of God's new angels.
Elena Jones Webster
July 21, 2010
To Bill's family-

Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. May God continue to share with you His love, His comfort and His peace.... and may you find strength in His presence.
Joe and Margaret Zeigler
July 21, 2010
To Bill's family-
You are all in our thoughts and prayers during this time. Bill was a major part of our wedding a year ago at COK, and one of our favorite memories from our wedding day was the beautiful music that Bill played and organized for us. He will forever have a place in our hearts.
Dustin & Kate Ham
July 20, 2010
I remember Bill as a young man when we were in high school. He was fun and enjoyed life and was a positive influence for me. My condolences to the family for your loss. Martina Carter Temple
July 20, 2010
Mary Beth I am so sorry to hear about Bill. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
Sherell Lucas
July 20, 2010
To The Becknell Loved Ones,
We will miss him greatly, we loved him dearly. Think of him as dancing with the Angels. You are in our hearts and prayers.

Sincerely,
Sherri Langston Gerick
919 Lansing Drive
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
843 597-8666
July 20, 2010
May Mr. Becknell's family be blessed in their journey with grief. Though I only knew him briefly, his radiance was a light in my life.

Paul Rousseau, M.D.
MUSC
Paul Rousseau
July 19, 2010
"Remember, Jan, some of us are canaries and some us are not".... knowing my lack of a voice worthy of being in the choir, Bill would frequently joke with me about my voice. I already miss him not being at the organ/piano during the Mass.

Jan Tompkins, Senior Minsitry, COK
jan tompkins
July 19, 2010
Bill was a high school friend. He was intellegent with a great sense of humor and always a joy to be around. I extend my condolence to his family. Linda Croan DeVries
Linda Croan DeVries
July 19, 2010
Mary Beth and family

I am sorry to hear about Bill.
Like so many others, the entire Cedel family was touched and blessed by his life. There are so many stories and memories about Bill I will cherish: choirs, driving me to Columbia for lessons, Beach parties, Pelican Boats Inc, baby sitting his Afghan and his BMW R75 for the summer. And yes he could make music out of a tone deaf choir.


Matthew Cedel
Hershey, PA
July 19, 2010
Mary Beth- I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your entire family.
Heather Tyson (MUSC IOP)
July 19, 2010
My thoughts and prayers to Bill's family. I taught Bill at UK. He was a fine young man who always strived for the very best. It was a joy to have him and it was gratifying to read of all his many wonderful accomplishments.
Sara Holroyd
July 19, 2010
Mary Beth, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. deepest sympathies,
Betsey Hodges
July 19, 2010
As a parishioner of Christ our King Church, I was Blessed to have the honor to listen to the choir under Bill's direction. There are no words to describe the beauty of the music. After a personal loss, the funeral choir brought the sounds of angels singing to my grieving heart and those of my loved ones.
May God Bless you with His Comfort, Love and Grace in the days and months ahead.
With Prayers,
Kathy Ward
Kathy Ward
July 19, 2010
I am another COK parishoner who has enjoyed the benefits of Bill's musical talent for many years, including at my wedding.

I feel fortunate to have recently expressed to him my appreciation for his work.

Please accept my condolances
Grateful COK parishoner
July 19, 2010
Mary Beth,
I'm so very sorry to hear about your loss. My thoughts and good wishes are with you and your family. Please take care of yourself and remember we are thinking of you.
Ann Blanton
July 19, 2010
My prayers go out to Bills family at this time of loss. I remember him and Bob as small children when their parents lived here in LOUISA, KY.
July 19, 2010
Very few people in our lives are able to affect us the way Bill did. Long after our period of mourning has passed, he will be remembered on so many levels. Thank you, Bill, for the privilege of being there for me and for the music you loved so dearly.
Fred Roitzsch
July 19, 2010
How funny, the connections: I was Louis to Judie Burbage's Anna (below) in THE KING & I, and I was in the chorus of PIRATES OF PENZANCE. Bill was my music teacher for seven years. He taught me to read and write music; he helped me produce my first musical and he taught me AP Music Theory in my senior year. I sang at Christ Our King for a year before leaving for college, and when Father Connor asked for a recommendation for someone to do music at the church, I immediately thought of Bill, who then went on to create a real music program that has lasted over thirty years. Bill was more than a teacher; he was a living inspiration. Bill could zero in on you and help you figure out who you might be.

I loved Bill and will miss him.

My deepest sympathies to Mary Beth; much, much love,
Thomas
Thomas Cabaniss
July 18, 2010
Bill was an inspiration to many a young person. I first met Bill while at Von Kolnitz and had the honor - and pleasure - to continue to sing under his direction while at Wando. He was upbeat and encouraging of the students who loved him so dearly. He saw our flaws, knew our stories and in his undserstanding and forgiving way - accepted us for who we were. Bill was our teacher, mentor, therapist, and friend.

To his family, I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that Bill had a wonderous gift... and because of that gift, he will live on in each life he touched.
Kristin Roitzsch Small
July 18, 2010
To the Becknell Family,
Week after week I have been blessed to hear Bill play the organ so magnificently during Mass. Although I didn't know him personally, listening to his music has provided me with much comfort during a grieving process of my own, to the point of filling me with emotion. I share this with you because I hope that you may find some peace and comfort with the hymns that Bill has played so beautifully. I will forever be grateful for being blessed with Bill’s music.

My God bless you during this difficult time.
Grateful Parishoner
July 18, 2010
I was privilege to have Bill as a friend and Director in The Charleston Opera Company's "The King and I" and "Pirates of Penzance" in 1975. His warm personality and amazing capacity to share and help others are treasured memories I hold dear. He now awaits us in that kingdom in the sky, where he surely must be with that heavenly choir of angels.
Judie Burbage
July 18, 2010
To a very old friend and teacher. You will be missed.
Cheryl Hair
July 18, 2010
Dave and I loved working with Bill on many productions with the Charleston Opera Company and continuing that friendship over the years and the miles through church music ministries. I'll never forget his wonderful smile, his gracious way of correcting mistakes, and his love of God, family, friends, and music. Lillian Quackenbush, Columbia,SC.
Lillian Quackenbush
July 18, 2010
I am so sorry for your loss.

The world is a better place because Bill lived among us here. He touched (and even saved) many lives while teaching music and in his music ministries at Saint Mark's and Christ Our King. I am one of those lives, and I am deeply grateful
Cathy Ardrey
July 18, 2010
To the Wife and Family of William (Bill) Becknell - I was so blessed by the love of music Mr. Becknell so shared with everyone from Wando High School. His beliefs and love of life will always be thrived trough his former students and many friends. I will forever miss him and thank him for teaching me what I have learned from music. I will be forever grateful. Sharen Novak Peterson (Mt. Pleasant, SC)
Sharen Novak Peterson
July 18, 2010
Mary Beth, May God continue to comfort you during this time. You are such a stong woman of God for this I am sure He will bring you through. Continue to trust in him and he will bring you through. Be Bless and Much Love to you and your family.
Carolyn White( 2 North-MUSC IOP)
July 18, 2010
I was sad when I learned of the passing of "Mr. B". My High School memories are great, thanks to him. He was not only a teacher, but a friend. God has gained quite a gifted and talented musician. "Make a joyful noise-"
Jim Woods
July 18, 2010
Take comfort that one day you will be reunited with Bill and that he is now free of all pain and suffering. He is wrapped in the loving arms of Jesus and Mary. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
Carol Rains
July 18, 2010
I have known Bill since we were in 8th grade. His mother was one of my teachers and his parents and my parents were friends.

Bill was an amazing person, musician and friend. He was funny, loyal, talented and humble. Music was his passion and he lost all track of time when he was working.

His choir loved and respected him and worked to meet his high standards. Their music has been heard all over the world and that is his legacy.

Rest in peace my dear friend until we meet again.

Becky Becnel Heimstead
July 18, 2010
To my Dad goodbye Wimray. I love you and miss you greatly. I just hope to honor your legacy with similar decision making skills as to yourself.

Love
Kevin
kevin brock
July 18, 2010
"Once more for the bones": In the late 1970's I sang in Bill's small choir at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Isle of Palms SC. To this day, I can sing Benjamin Britton's "Hodie", which Bill taught us using only our ears and our voices. Often when we thought we were all sung-out, Bill would make us practice "once more for the bones." Although we have lost touch over the years, I remember what he taught us in that tiny mostly tone-deaf choir. We'll all miss you, Bill. And I know that where you are now, you don't have to say "Once more for the bones." And everyone has perfect pitch. - KLL
July 18, 2010
I remember Bill as a high-school student who was already an excellent musician. As Diana Fleischmann, I taught Chorus at Shepherdsville High School, and felt lucky to have him in the group, since he played the piano better than I did. We only became reacquainted within this past year, through Becky Becnel, another ex-student. It warmed my heart to know he enjoyed a life of music.
Diana Loy
July 18, 2010
Tommy and I are so sorry about Bill's passing. We know you will miss him so much. I never met him, however, I know he was a remarkable person from reading of his many talents and musical accomplishments. I hope to see you later this week at the funeral.

Linda Burkhalter
Linda Burkhalter
July 18, 2010
My condolences on your loss. I haven't seen Bill since I left Wando in 1979, but can see that he continued to share his gift of music after leaving the teaching profession.

Bill was my 7th grade music teacher at Von Kolnitz in 1973 and I had the pleasure of appearing in his production of Gilbert & Sullivan's "Patience" and then the play "The Me Nobody Knows" a year later at Moultrie Middle. Bill instilled a love of non-church choral singing in me that continued into college. He was a unique individual who made his mark on countless people. He will be missed.
David Weise
July 18, 2010
he was a great teacher and will as friend we will miss him very much god bless you and your family at this time margaret class oh 1978
margaret topping
July 18, 2010
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