Heiden Beckwith, mother of Bishop Mark Beckwith, died peacefully on March 17, 2017 after a short illness, surrounded by her son, three daughters and spouses, most of her nine grandchildren, and her three-week-old great-grandson. She was 88 years old, and had lived in Woodcrest Village in New London, New Hampshire for four years, where the staff became her second family.
Heidi, as she was known, was born in Milwaukee to German immigrant parents. She attended the University of Wisconsin, where she majored in Journalism and where she met her husband Andy. They married in 1950 and initially settled in Milwaukee, where her first two children were born. The youngest two were born in Glencoe, Illinois, where the family lived for six years. In 1961, the family moved to Darien, Connecticut. For several years, she served as Girl Scout leader for her three daughters. She was active in the League of Women Voters and wrote news releases for them. When her children were older, she got a Master’s Degree and taught math at Roton Middle School in Norwalk, Connecticut for nearly twenty years.
Andy and Heidi built a retirement home in New London, New Hampshire, where they moved in 1988, and which became a beloved family gathering place. She sang in the St. Andrew's Episcopal Church choir and served on the altar guild. She wrote press releases for Adventures in Learning, a senior education program, and she sang in the Kearsarge Chorale.
She had a lifelong love of music. She was an accomplished pianist, and a regular attendee of the Boston symphony and simulcast performances of the Metropolitan Opera. Heidi was an expert gardener, and she took great pride in completing the Sunday NY Times crossword puzzle every week.
But her greatest passion was her family, beginning with her husband Andy, who died in 2004 after 54 years of marriage. She rejoiced in the lives and accomplishments of her children and grandchildren, and eagerly awaited the arrival of her great-grandson. Especially in her later years, she was unfailingly gracious and grateful – for life and love, which were both fully evident at the very end.
A memorial service of thanksgiving will be held at St. Andrew's Church, 52 Gould Road, New London, New Hampshire 03257 on Saturday, March 25 at 11 AM. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St Andrew's Episcopal Church summer music camp.
Lord, for your faithful people life is changed, not ended. When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven. Lord, grant eternal rest, forever in the radiance of your light. Amen.