Russell Howard Beckwith

January 8, 1920September 4, 2010

Russell H. Beckwith, 90, passed away at L&M Hospital on September 4, 2010. Born on January 8, 1920 in New London, CT, to Ethel H. and Howard E. Beckwith, he attended the Bulkeley School graduating in 1938 and Mitchell College in 1941. He married Ruth E. Simons, daughter of William and Lea Simons on November 15, 1942. He enlisted in the Army in 1942 serving in WWII until 1943. After honorable discharge, Russell inherited Gates & Beckwith, begun by his father in 1918. After 65 years the business was sold. He established Decorating Services Inc. that he operated for 10 years until his retirement in 1991. Russell served as President of the New London Lions Club, Thames Club and Painting and Decorating Association, CT Chapter. He was on the Mitchell College Board of Trustees for 51 years, and several other college committees. He was a founding board member of Twin Haven Elderly Housing as well as serving on the East Lyme Commission for the Aging. As a resident of Oswegatchie Hills Park, he served as Club President and chairman of the membership, tennis and several other committees. A devoted parishioner of St. John’s Episcopal Church of Niantic, Russell was Lay Chair and Sr. Warden of the Vestry; ushered for over 40 years; served on the building committee for the new church and helped to establish a Memorial Garden at the parish. He is survived by his wife Ruth S. Beckwith of Niantic. He was predeceased by his daughter Susan Beckwith Pfanner. He is also survived by daughters Deborah Beckwith Sullivan (Michael) of Niantic, Diane Beckwith Sullivan of Burke, VA and Shirley Beckwith of Newport, RI, grandchildren Jill Pfanner Lloyd (Jay) and Robert D. Pfanner (Rachel) of East Lyme, Christopher and Amie Sullivan of VA, as well as a great granddaughter Morgan Lloyd. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to East Lyme Twin Haven, 39 Upper Pattagansett Road, EL 06333; The Friends of Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve,P.O. Box 163, Niantic, CT 06357 or the Memorial Garden at St. John’s Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 810, Niantic, CT 06357. Calling hours will be held at 10am and service in thanksgiving for Russell’s life with Holy Communion at 11am on September 9th at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 400 Main Street, Niantic.


  • Memorial Service Thursday, September 9, 2010
  • Visitation Thursday, September 9, 2010

Russell Howard Beckwith

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September 26, 2010

Dear Mrs. Beckwith, Dede, Deb, and Shirley,

I am so sorry to hear of Mr. Beckwiths passing.
My prayers are with you.
Love to you,
Linda Sue

Beth Bernstein

September 12, 2010

Dear Debbie:
Sorry to read about the passing of your Father. My sincere condolences to you and your entire family.
Beth Bernstein

September 11, 2010

Dear Debbie and Beckwith Family: our condolences on your Father's passing. Our prayers and thoughts with all of you.
Henry Resnikoff and Daphne M. Nielsen

September 11, 2010

Goodbye, Russell, lifelong friend.

There's good news and bad news. Where you're going, everyone gets a new pair of shoes every few weeks and a new car every few months. BUT11 You must wear the appropriate shoes for the appropriate occasion and wash the car weekly.

We are left with only memories, but what memories! Green candles, a piece of each cake because you're not feeling well; a "little" spruce tree as a rememberence of a great trip the four of us took to the Smokeshires in Vermont ("Upper US") in the mid fifties, and many, many more.

Smooth sailing and fair weather good friend.

Dave Ferguson

September 9, 2010

Debbie, Dede, and all.
Please accept my deepest condolences on the passing of your father. My prayers are with you.
Debbie D'Angelo Fortunato

Don & Gloria Pontious

September 9, 2010

Dear Debbie,

We were very sorry to read of your Dad's passing. Perhaps you will remember you took our daughter, Debbie's wedding pictures 25 years ago! Before that,we were paint & wallpaper store customers of your father for many years and your Dad was always so helpful, friendly & kind. Any work that we had done was always of superior quality. May God comfort you, your mother & family in your great loss.


Don & Gloria Pontious

Mike Frayer

September 9, 2010

Dear Mrs. Beckwith and family,

Please accept my sincere sympathy. Your family is admired and loved by so many. Russell will live forever in the fond memories of those who were lucky enough to have known him. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Mike Frayer and Family

Janet Robbins Olmstead

September 9, 2010

To the Beckwith Family we were so sad to hear of Russells passing at the Labor Day picnic. We were all blessed to have known your husband, father and grandfather and wish you all peace. May God bless you all at this difficult time.

Rhoda & Mike Daley

September 9, 2010

To the Beckwith family: As Dede’s neighbors, we only met Mr. B. on a few brief occasions during his visits to Virginia. However, we could see his honest, friendly, and exuberant personality reflected each day in Dede and her children Chris and Amie. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this sad time.

Greg Lawton

September 9, 2010

Mrs. Beckwith & Family ~ Please know my heart is with you during this sad and most personal time. Although I only had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Beckwith on a few short occasions, I have had the opportunity to see his tonacity for life through both the eyes of your beautiful daughter Deb. and grandaughter Jill. Both are wonderful ladies that their own spark. Please know my heart is with you.