Native Abilenian Peggy Beckham Dies at Age 87

Lifelong Abilenian Peggy Beckham died Dec. 29. A celebration of life memorial and inurnment service will be held at a date to be determined at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest.

The following obituary is from the Hamil Family Funeral Home website.

Peggy Beckham

Soli Deo Gloria! Peggy Hardaway Pattillo Beckham passed away peacefully at her home on December 29, 2021. Peggy was born January 26, 1934, in Abilene, Texas, the daughter of Evelyn Ruth (Jackson) and John Fletcher Hardaway.  She graduated from Abilene High School in 1952 and received her B.A. degree in Plan II in 1956 from the University of Texas-Austin where she was elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa.  In 1975, she received a M.A. degree in Literature from Hardin-Simmons University and was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Humanities in 1990 from Hardin-Simmons University in recognition of her service to the community.

Peggy married her high school sweetheart Guy Robert (Bob) Beckham on November 10, 1956.  Their wedding was the first held in the newly built sanctuary of the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest.  Other than the few years Bob spent in the military, the couple made Abilene their home and were active in community affairs.  In addition to serving on numerous Abilene non-profit Boards, Peggy was elected to the AISD School Board, serving from 1976-1982. She was a founding member of Hendrick Hospice Care which began in 1982 as Hospice of Abilene. Peggy was on the first Board for the Community Foundation of Abilene and served as Chairman in 1990-91.  In 1995, the Chamber of Commerce recognized Peggy as Abilene’s Outstanding Citizen.  In 2015, she was the recipient of the Pro Bene Meritis Award, the highest honor bestowed by the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas. An avid Longhorn and sports fan, she greatly enjoyed cheering on all of her beloved UT teams.

The two main anchors in Peggy’s life were her family and her church.  As a family, much time was spent on the Spring Gap Ranch in Callahan County where she and Bob would hold an annual deer hunt for the young men of Ben Richey Boys Ranch.  Peggy was a lifelong member of the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest where she served on the Vestry, was a lay reader, taught adult classes, and served on the Outreach Program to help those in need

Known as Nonnie to her grandchildren, Peggy taught them the art of birdwatching, stargazing and shared her love of poetry. She will forever be remembered for her gentle love, her kindness, and her contemplative soul. Her charitable nature and quiet grace made for a lifetime of deep friendships and abiding love of her family. Always looking for the best in everyone she encountered, and, in all circumstances, Peggy embodied the Julian of Norwich quote she would often share, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” Late in her life, Peggy would finish each night with a simple prayer, “God make us better servants, show us how to serve you better. Amen”

Peggy was preceded in death by her husband Bob, father John Fletcher Hardaway, mother Evelyn Hardaway Pattillo, stepfather Guy L. Pattillo, brother Jack Pattillo, and grandson Jeffrey Dane Davis.  She is survived by her son John Beckham and his wife Carolyn, and their children Michael and wife Sarah, Rob and wife Chelsea, and Emily and husband Sean Wood; daughter Nancy Capra and her husband Jay, and their children Donald and wife Sally, Sarah and husband Will Seltzer, and Twig Capra; daughter Lynn Beckham and her children Robert Davis, Justin Marderosian, and daughter-in-law Jennifer Davis; son Rob Beckham and his wife Julie, and their children Bryson, Alex and his wife Miranda, and Austin; twenty great grandchildren; sister Patricia Jennings and husband Greg of Lake Whitney; and two nieces and three nephews.

The family wishes to express their deep gratitude to Dr. Samantha Goodman and the many caregivers that loved and helped Peggy. Memorials may be made to the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, Hendrick Hospice Care, West Texas Rehab Center, or to a favorite charity.

Due to COVID concerns, the family is postponing a celebration of life memorial and inurnment service at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, date TBA. Arrangements by The Hamil Family Funeral Home.

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