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.