Francis Ridley Beckmann – Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army

Francis Ridley Beckmann, 80, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Army and Fairfax County Deputy Sheriff, died of cancer February 2, 2007, at Loudoun Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Leesburg. He lived in Linden.frbeckmann-photo-01

Colonel Beckmann, a native of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and a West Point graduate, served in the Army from 1944 to 1970, with posts in the Philippines, Korea, Alaska, Texas, Italy, Alabama, Vietnam and Southeast Asia, and Fort Meade.

He was a military policeman, public information officer, military historian and intelligence officer. He published military histories of Alaska, Italy and Vietnam. In 1960, he received a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.

Among his military honors were two awards of the Bronze Star Medal.

After leaving the Army in 1970, Colonel Beckmann worked for the next 12 years on the sheriff’s force in Fairfax County, retiring in 1982.

He enjoyed history, collected stamps and coins, and was an outdoorsman. He was also a member of the Lions Club.

His marriage to Elizabeth Bodmer Beckmann ended in divorce.

His wife of 44 years, Suzanna Wilson Beckmann, died in 2000.

Survivors include two children from his first marriage, Lynn H. Lutjen of Blue Springs, Missouri, and Timothy Hoare of Overland, Kansas; three children from his second marriage, Eleanor B. Coppola of McLean, Natalie M. Beckmann of Seattle and Catherine B. Serbanica of Chatham, New Jersey; and three grandchildren.


Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) FRANCIS RIDLEY BECKMANN, a career United States Army Military Officer, died February 2, 2007, after a brief but intense battle with cancer. He was born on December 22, 1926 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. He attended Castle Heights and West Point Military Academies and pursued post-graduate journalism studies at the Sullivan School of New York and Southeast Missouri State University.

His career as a United States Army Military Officer spanned three decades from 1944 until his retirement in 1970. Tours of active duty included: the Philippines 1945-46, Korea 1950-53, Alaska 1956-59, Texas 1960-62, Italy 1963-65, Alabama 1965-68, Vietnam and Southeast Asia 1968-70 (two tours of duty), and finally Fort George G. Meade, Maryland.

During his military career he was a Military Policeman, a Public Information Officer, a Military Historian with published military histories of Alaska, Italy, and Vietnam, and finally an Intelligence Officer. After his retirement from the United States Army in 1970 at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, he entered civilian law enforcement as a Deputy Sheriff for Fairfax County from 1970-1982.

During his tenure as a United State Army Military Officer, Colonel Beckmann was awarded the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, American Campaign Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, National Defense Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Korean Service Medal and Commendation, Vietnam Service and Campaign Medals, United Nations Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, among others.

In 1956 he met and married Suzanna Wilson of Washington, D.C. in Anchorage, Alaska; Suzanna Wilson Beckmann preceded him in death suddenly on November 4, 2000. He is survived by five adult children: Eleanor B. Coppola of McLean, Virginia, Natalie M. Beckmann of Seattle, Washington, Catherine B. Serbanica of Chatham, New Jersey, Lynn H. Lutjen of Blue Springs, Missouri and Timothy Hoare of Overland, Kansas; and three grandchildren: Stan Serbanica, III and Meredith Serbanica of Chatham, NJ and Christopher Coppola of McLean, Virginia.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend his Memorial Service Thursday, March 8, 2007, 1 p.m., Fort Myer Chapel, Fort Myer, Vi9rginia. Interment will follow immediately at Arlington National Cemetery. There will be a Memorial Reception at Washington Golf and Country Club, Arlington, VA following his interment. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in his memory to the West Point Museum Fund, 688 Mills Road, West Point, NY 10996.

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