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The Most Reverend Thomas Joseph, M.S.
Catholic Church of America
3, 1949- August 4, 2009
His Excellency, Most Reverend, (known by all as Father Tom)
Thomas Joseph Beckman, M.A. passed away after a long illness,
August 4, 2009 in his home in San Diego. Fr. Tom was born June
3, 1949 in New York, the fourth of four children to Henry
William Beckman and Rose Alice De Martini. Upon graduating from
Cardinal Hayes High School, the young Tom Beckman enlisted in
the U.S. Navy in 1966 at the height of Vietnam War. He was a
Petty Officer assigned to the USN Elk River.
He was discharged from the Navy in 1970. Fr. Tom graduated
from National University in San Diego in June of 1987 with a
Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Sciences. He earned a Masters
Degree in Educational Counseling from San Diego State University
Fr. Tom worked for the San Diego Unified School District as
a counselor and then as a Program Manager for Adults and
Families for Fr. Joe’s Villages in San Diego. Fr. Tom also
worked in San Isidro and San Diego Downtown Mental Health as a
Psychiatric Case Worker. Fr. Tom was respected by his
supervisors and his peers in his ability to deal with difficult
situations. He was an extraordinary counselor with a keen
insight into people.
Fr. Tom’s love for God, for the Church and for ministry led
him to seek ordination first in the Johannine Old Catholic
Church, September, 23, 1978 and then in the Liberal Catholic
Church. He was ordained by the Most Reverend Dean Bekken of the
Liberal Catholic Church on August 16, 1981. With permission from
his Ordinary, The Most Reverend Rainer Laufers, Presiding
Archbishop of the Old Holy Catholic Church based in Canada,
Father Beckman was assigned to work with The Most Reverend
Thomas Abel, STL, for the Catholic Church of Amereica in San
Fr. Tom ministered at St. Francis Liberal Catholic Church,
the Polish National Catholic Church, and St. John the Beloved
Parish, all in San Diego.
Fr. Tom also served the Dignity Catholic Community in San
Diego, Chapter, as a regular chaplain, presider and homilist. He
will be remembered, especially by the Dignity Community, for his
gentle manner and his interesting sermons, always calling the
community to be more inclusive and more loving. Over the last
few years, because of poor health, Fr. Tom often lamented that
he missed the community and he missed presiding and preaching at
Eucharist… a feeling shared by the entire Dignity Family.
Fr. Tom is survived by his brother, Henry W.
Beckman of Texas; his sister Carolyn Beccarelli of New York; his
companion and friend of 40 years, Ralph Mann of San Diego; Marco
Corona, over whom Tom and Ralph had guardianship during his
teenage years; and many friends, neighbors, priests and former
workers at various social service agencies in the area.
“How shall I make a
return to the Lord for all the good the Lord has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the
name of the Lord. My vows to the Lord I will pay in the presence
of all God’s people. Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the
death of God’s faithful ones. O Lord, I am your servant, the son
of your handmaid; you have loosed my bonds. To you will I offer
sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the
Lord.” Psalm 116:12-17
Memorial Masses: 11:30 a.m. Sunday, September 13, 2009 at
St. John the Beloved Cathedral, 3900 Cleveland Ave. San Diego,
CA 92103. Dignity-San Diego will celebrate a Memorial Mass at 6
p.m. Sunday, September 20, 2009 in Clark Chapel at The Unitarian
Universalist Church, 4190 Front St. San Diego, CA 92103.
Tom’s remains will be buried with his parents in St. Raymond
Cemetery, in the Bronx , New York. May he rest in peace.
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