James L. Beckett

April 14, 1936February 17, 2021

James L Beckett passed peacefully on February 17th at 7:22 pm in the presence of his wife and family at Lenoir Retirement Center. Visitation will be Thursday, February 25, 2021 at Memorial Funeral Home 1217 Business Loop 70 West Columbia from 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm. The funeral service will begin at 2:30 pm and burial will follow in Memorial Park Cemetery.

In keeping with the guidelines put forth by the Boone County Heath Director all guests are required to wear a mask, to keep social distancing (six feet apart), cough into your sleeve and wash and sanitize your hands often. Friends are invited to join a virtual service via Facebook live, please visit and select the view livestream tab under services at the time of the service. If you are unable to view the service live, it will be available for replay on the Memorial Funeral Home, Crematory & Memorial Park Cemetery/Columbia Facebook page after the service ends.

Jim was born to Carl and Mae Beckett on April 14, 1936 in Camp Point, Illinois. Jim married his high school sweetheart, Helen Marie Hamilton on December 31, 1955. Helen preceded Jim in death on February 19, 1988. Jim married Shirley Marie Walkof on May 30, 1996. Shirley survives at the home.

Jim attended Central Methodist College, graduating with a degree in Business from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Jim worked as the Director of the Physical Plant from 1968 to 1984. He then went on to be the Director of Environmental Health and Safety at MU, retiring in 1999. His accolades include International Safety Council Service to Safety Award in 1998, President of Campus Safety, Health, Environmental Management Association in 1995.

He was a man of many talents and interests. Dancing was a passion he shared with both Helen and Shirely in the Huffs and Puff’s Square Dance Club, along with co-teaching Country Swing with Shirley. Jim was active in Toastmasters International mentoring many in the art of public speaking. Downtown Optimists was fortunate to have him as a member for 59 years, and honored his years of service with a tree planting in 2016. Optimists appreciated his special attention to Public Speaking programs, and tenacity in selling Koeze nuts and Christmas trees. Over his lifetime Jim enjoyed restoring and collecting cars with a known tally of at least 30 Ford Mustangs. He possessed a lifetime ticket to the Barrett-Jackson Automobile Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. His dedication to the antique car hobby and industry propelled his membership in several mid-Missouri clubs: Old Wheels Car Club, Mid-Missouri Model A Club, Thunderbird International Club. Jim shared Helen’s interest in 4-H which provided to be a foundation for their children. He was also a Pinnacle Youth Park Director for 15 years and founding member of the Boone County 4-H Foundation.

Jim and Helen enjoyed raising three children, Connie (Steve) Mason of Gravois Mills, Missouri, Chris (Marcia) Beckett of Columbia, Missouri and Lisa (Brian) Wasson of Columbia, Missouri. His step-children include Duane Voth of Austin, Texas, Aurora Dawn Rose (Dave Langer) of Columbia, Missouri and Brian Voth of Mission San Viejo, California. His grandchildren brought Jim enjoyment and laughter, especially as they grew out of their toddler years, Patrick Mason of Gravois Mills, Erin (Mason) Seitz of Columbia, Nathan (Micaiah) Beckett of Rosedale, Indiana, Andrew (Lauren) Beckett of Fort Worth, Texas, Brandon (Amanda) Wasson of Columbia and Becky (Ben) Thelen of Columbia. As well as eight great-grandchildren.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, first wife, Helen, and siblings, Doris D. (Beckett) Oard and Donald Lee Beckett.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made in his memory to: Boone County 4-H Foundation or the Boone County Hospital Foundation.


  • Brandon Wasson
  • Ben Thelan
  • Brian Wasson
  • Steve Mason
  • Nathan Beckett
  • Andrew Beckett
  • Jim Martin, Honorary
  • Phil Shocklee, Honorary
  • Max Miller, Honorary
  • Jim Roberson, Honorary
  • Patrick Mason, Honorary
  • Bill Mann, Honorary
  • David Mast, Honorary

  • Boone County 4-H Foundation and Boone County Hospital Foundation


  • Visitation

    Thursday, February 25, 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Thursday, February 25, 2021



James L. Beckett

have a memory or condolence to add?

Ken Hutchinson

March 1, 2021

Jim was a special friend and will be missed. I visited with Jim briefly at Lenoir before Covid restrictions. I so regret not not attending the funeral. I saw the obituary too late. My thoughts and prayers are with you each of you. I’ll definitely send a donation to the 4-H Foundation.
Most Sincerely,
Ken Hutchinson

Paul Harris

February 27, 2021

So sorry to hear of your dad's passing, my heart goes out to you and your family. As I look back on the years that you and I spent growing up together, I can truly say that I always felt welcome in your parents home. Even the time that we had to tow the Mustang home that your dad loaned me while my car was in the shop. Your dad also helped secure a job for me at the MU Medical Center carpenter shop, which helped to finance my college education, so I owe many thanks to James L. Beckett.

My sincerest condolences to you and your family, Paul M. Harris

Scott March

February 26, 2021

Remembering all the good times we had together (the 60’s and 70’s were so happy like that). I remember going to Jim and Helen’s with my parents (Madge and Edgar) when they played cards, and remember running around the house and playing outside and the volleyball net I ran through! :(. Your mom, Helen, was mom’s best friend growing up and went to school with both parents. So sorry for your loss and may peace be with all you during this time. - Scott (and Madge) March and family (Geri, Mike, Patti, Zac, Travis and Greg)

Betty Crawford

February 26, 2021

Connie, Steve, and Family,
I am so sorry about your father. I hope the many memories of this extremely special and and loving man will help you in your sorrow.
Love, Hugs,
Betty Crawford

Katie Brookshier-Merrill

February 26, 2021

I have very fond 4-H memories of your family and am sad to hear of Mr. Beckett's passing. My deepest sympathy. Blessings and peace to your family.
Katie Brookshier Merrill

horace f christman

February 25, 2021

He was a great good person who loved life family and old cars. He will be missed. Bless you all

Elizabeth Couper

February 22, 2021

Dear Shirley and all of the Beckett Family,

Libbie and Nick Couper(friend of Betty Boggs) send their most sincere condolences to you Shirley, and all of the members of Jim's family. Having read the obituary we realize what a marvelous person Jim was and gift to our community and certainly to his family.
Our thoughts are with all of you.

Linda Jo Turner

February 21, 2021

The Turner family has many fond and positive memories of Jim, but our favorite deals with the 1967 Cougar that Anne and I bought from him. Our mother, Mary Belle, always thought that he didn't expect us to buy it. When Anne and I came up with the money, Jim polished it up and sold it to us. We felt like the coolest girls in town when we drove that beautiful little car!
Jim's warmth, humor and smile will always be remembered and treasured by his many friends and colleagues. We send our sympathy and love to all the family.
The Turner family (Carol, Jo, and Anne)

Donna Barnes

February 20, 2021

Jim Beckett will be missed by many who knew and loved him. The memories of how he touched each individuals lives will live on in all of us. Jim was my uncle, but was more like a big brother, since our ages were closer together than his and my dads age. Jim taught me to ride a bike, and I ended up in Grandma’s garden because I didn’t know how to stop. We made lots of fun memories together and I will cherish the memories always. Uncle Jim, you will be missed!