Heiden Beckwith died peacefully on March 17, 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, N.H. for four years, where the residents and staff became her beloved second family.
Heidi, as she was known, was born in Milwaukee to German immigrant parents. She attended the University of Wisconsin ’50, majored in Journalism and met her husband, Andy ‘49. They married in 1950 and initially settled in Milwaukee, and had their first two children, Mark and Andrea. The youngest two, Nancy and Christine were born in Glencoe, Ill.
— an obituary from Chadwick Funeral and Cremation Service
In 1961, the family moved and settled in Darien, Connecticut and led a busy and fulfilling life there until their retirement. For several years, Heidi served as a Girl Scout leader for her three daughters. She was active with St. Luke’s Church and the League of Women Voters and wrote news releases for them.
When her children were older, she got a masters degree and taught math at Roton Middle School in Norwalk, Connecticut for nearly twenty years.
Heidi and Andy, with their active lifestyle and love of the great outdoors, mountains and lakes, built a retirement home in New London, N.H., and moved there in 1988. They quickly embraced the community, made friends, and their home became a cherished family gathering place.
Heidi had a lifelong love of music, and she instilled it in her children as well. She sang in the St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church Choir and the Kearsarge Chorale. Heidi was an accomplished pianist, and a regular attendee of the Boston Symphony and simulcast performances of the Metropolitan Opera.
With her journalistic prowess, she wrote for Adventures in Learning, a senior education program in New London. At their hillside home, Heidi was an avid gardener, and she took great pride in completing the weekly Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle.
But her great 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 curious, gracious, and grateful — for life and love, which were both fully evident at the very end.
Heidi is survived by Mark Beckwith and his wife, Marilyn Olson, of South Orange, N.J.; Andrea Beckwith Johns and her husband, Jeff, of Hollis, N.H.; Nancy Beckwith Havel and her husband, Peter, of Marion, Mass.; and Christine Beckwith Bensley and husband, Chris, of Andover, Mass; nine grandchildren and one great-grandson.
A memorial service of thanksgiving will be held at St. Andrew’s Church, 52 Gould Road, New London at 11 a.m., Saturday, March 25.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church summer music camp.