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1912 Paul 2020

Paul D. Beckman

August 20, 1912 — December 1, 2020

Paul D. Beckman, 108 passed away Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at the Elwood Care Center.

Paul was born August 20, 1912, in Grand Island, NE in a house his dad bought from Gus Fonner who later built the race track which became Fonner Park. He attended Dodge Elementary School, Barr Jr. High, and Grand Island High School graduating in 1929. He attended Jr. college for one year.

After college he went to work helping his father in the WPA-Work Projects Administration. In 1931 the Homeowners Loan Association came to Grand Island so Paul took a typing test and got the job-later getting a job in the legal department. (He had to buy a book and learn shorthand on his own to get this job). There was an opening in Omaha so he moved there.

After two years in Omaha, he contracted scarlet fever and ended up in the contagious hospital. It took him a year to recuperate.

He then bought a motorcycle and went to the Black Hills to Keystone, S.D. He became acquainted with a mining engineer who helped him with staking claims and taking samples and he also studied geology. After a year, he moved to Utah around Moab and took up mining for gold. He did that for three years.

His number then came up for the draft and he joined the US Army in July of 1942 and went to Pueblo Colorado to the induction station and worked there for a year. He became the dark-room man developing x-rays and helping with physicals. He was then sent to the Texas boot camp and spent time in the Louisiana swamps. It was around this time that he met and married Ollietta. He shipped out to Scotland on the Ile de France and worked for the civilian censorship detail because of his typing expertise. He spent 1 year in Paris and 1 year in Germany.

When he returned from the war in Dec of 1946, he lived in Grand Island for 44 years working at the Ordinance Plant, unemployment office, Veteran’s Built apartments. He was also a plumber, TV repairman, and piano tuner. Also, after teaching himself to play piano, he played for several dance bands and toured with them until he was 92 years old.

After Ollietta’s death, he married Olla Criffield and they lived in Hazard for 14 years, during which he enjoyed traveling to Las Vegas twice a year. Olla passed away in 2004 and he moved to Cambridge Court in Kearney. He went to dances at the Senior center where he met Alvertus Warren. They enjoyed dancing in Kearney and Grand Island for many years as long as they were able. After her death in 2014, he continued to spend time with his ‘adoped family” (Alvertus’s) for holidays and special occasions always entertaining on the piano. Also, Paul was very informed about current events and enjoyed good conversation. Also, he enjoyed yearly visits from Ollietta’s family from Colorado.

He is survived by nieces Wendy Baum, Julie Cox, Annette Fenel, niece-in-law Susan Gelerstead, step grand -daughters Mallory Leiting, Rachel Smitherman, and Crissa Bonner and step grandson Jeff Bonner and Alvertus’s family, Gayle Taubenheim and Jana Burkey, Kearney, NE, Jeff and Betty Warren & family, Johnson Lake, Brad Jacoby and Tiffany Jacoby, Kearney, NE Also, good friends, Randy Dibbern family.

A graveside service with military honors will be held Friday, December 4, 2020 at the Grand Island City Cemetery in Grand Island at 2:00 p.m. Masks will be required.

Memorials are kindly suggested to the charities of the donor’s choice.

Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington is honored to be assisting the family with arrangements. Please share online condolences with the family by visiting:

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Paul D. Beckman, please visit our flower store.


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