William J. Beckwith – Colonel, United States Army

From a contemporary press report

William J. Beckwith, 72, a retired Army Colonel who served in combat operations during the Korea and Vietnam wars, died of lung cancer April 6 at his home in Great Falls, Virginia.

Colonel Beckwith served 27 years in the Army before retiring in 1978. That included two tours in Vietnam and two in Korea and service in Germany and at various posts in the United States. He commanded tank units and a cavalry squadron. His decorations included a Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

In the mid-1970s, he settled in the Washington area. After his military retirement, he helped develop several local companies, including Troy Systems, a defense contracting operation. He retired in 1993.

He was born in North Dakota and grew up in Minnesota. While serving in the Army, he graduated from the University of Maryland, where he also received a master's degree in political science.

Colonel Beckwith was an enthusiastic golfer and a member of River Bend Golf and Country Club.

His marriage to Sylvia Solberg ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 30 years, Jean Seland Beckwith of Great Falls; two children from his first marriage, Cheryl Stadler of St. Paul and W. Douglas Beckwith of Minneapolis; two children from his second marriage, Michael M. Beckwith of Columbus and Stephen R. Beckwith of Atlanta; a brother; a sister; three  grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.


On Saturday, April 6, 2002, at his home in Great Falls, VA. Colonel Beckwith is survived by his loving wife of 30 years, Jean F. Beckwith and his four children, Michael M. Beckwith, Columbus, Ohio, Stephen R. Beckwith, Atlanta, Georgia, W.
Douglas Beckwith and Cheryl Stadler both of St. Paul, Minnesota; brother, Robert Beckwith, Ankeny, Iowa; sister, Carol Baird, Stuart, Florida. Three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren also survive. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 1 p.m. in the Memorial Chapel at Fort Myer. Interment with Full Military Honors will follow at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The American Cancer Society, Attn: Cancer Research, 124 Park St., SE, Vienna, VA 22180-0699.


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