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The Hesston Record
345 Old Hwy 81
Hesston, KS 67062
(620) 327-4831

Dwight Russel Beckham, Sr.

Posted 8/30/2018

Dwight Beckham passed away on Aug.t 24, 2018, at his home in Hesston.

Dwight was born in Lamont, Oklahoma, on April 25, 1931, to Wick G. and Gladys (Channel) Beckham.

At the age 19, he married Helen June Barney.  They were married on March 21, 1951, at College Hill United Methodist Church in Wichita. They enjoyed family times, cross country bicycling, and they took many memorable family vacations throughout the United States and Canada. They were married for 62 years prior to her passing in January of 2014.

Dwight lived in Lamont, Carmen, and Alva, Oklahoma, before moving to Planeview in 1942. 

After their marriage, he and Helen moved to Valley Center, Newton, Marion County Park and Lake and Hesston.

Dwight was a quiet and reserved man who loved music, teaching and working with the many students he taught throughout his career. He was a composer, always composing music in his mind. He loved his family and was very proud of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

Dwight spent 11 years as band director at Valley Center; 19 years as band director at Newton; two years as trumpet instructor at Wichita State University and 10 years as adjunct trumpet instructor at Bethel College.  

He played trumpet in the Wichita Symphony Orchestra for 25 years; the 97th Army Band for two years, and the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra for a period that spanned over 40 years and the Wichita Wind Ensemble Professional Band. 

He enjoyed a 64-year professional career as a trumpet player.  When he was not teaching or performing he composed music for band and orchestra.  He had several publications and a recorded CD.  

He, along with his wife Helen, enjoyed cross country bicycling and was involved with the historic preservation.  Dwight was quick to volunteer to play Taps at military committal services to honor veterans.

He is survived by three children: Christine (Robert) Carlton of Hesston, 

Jan (Dallas) Hodges of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and Dwight Jr. (Kathy) of Wichita; six grandchildren: Steve (Heather) Girk of Bradenton, Florida, Stuart (Brittni) Girk of Lenexa, Julia Collins (Noah) of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Russel Beckham and Sidney Beckham of Newton and Lauren Hodges of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma; six great-grandchildren; four nieces; four nephews; several great-nieces and nephews and his brother Kenneth (Joan) Beckham of St. Charles, Missouri. 

He was preceded in death by his wife: Helen Beckham; parents: Wick and Gladys Beckham; sister: Dortha Anne Bargen and brother: Hugh Beckham. 


A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 1, at the First United Church of Christ in Newton. 

A visitation will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 30, at Petersen Funeral Home of Newton.  The family will greet friends from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests the memorials be made to the Newton Mid Kansas Symphony Orchestra, 120 W. 6th Street, Newton, Kansas 67114.