The world lost a nature lover this Labor Day. Walter Beckett, born in Milton W. Va., leaves behind a legacy of love. At 9 his mother, Garnett Beckett, died leaving him an orphan. Four years later he was taken in as a foster child on a farm, where he worked long hours. There he formed his love of nature and his strong work ethic. Later he lived with Sylvester and Vada Mount and family. They treated him like a son. He moved to New York City and found his love in life, Lorraine. They married in 1957 and had three children. He became an engineer, which took the family to California. After retirement from TRW at 57, he and Lorraine enjoyed travelling the world. He loved playing card games and gardening. His garden provided years of fruits and vegetables for family and friends. His kindness, generous nature, inner strength and jokester shenanigans will be remembered and cherished. He was strong in spirit, kind to others, mischievous, wise and full of good humor. He will be forever remembered and loved by his survivors, wife, Lorraine; children: Gary Beckett, Lynn Beckett-Lemus and Melinda Beckett-Maines (Tom); and grandchildren: Connor and Kiralynn Beckett-Lemus and Blake and Max Beckett-Maines. A visitation will be held this Friday from 4-8 p.m. at Rice Mortuary in Torrance. Donations in his memory can be made to Alliance of Children's Rights or Community's Child.

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  1. Dear Beckett Family, I’m deeply sorry for your loss. May you be comforted by the many beautiful memories you have of him during this difficult time. With sympathy, Tracy Stachniak

  2. Dear Becketts-
    I am so sorry for your loss. How special for all who knew Walter to have been touched by his joy and kindness and fun nature. These wonderful traits live on in the legacy of his children and grandchildren and that is a life well lived. Sending you all electronic hugs by writing this short note and will see you for real hugs on Saturday. Pam Wheeler

  3. Hello Becketts,
    Thank you for sharing Walter with me. My life is better for knowing him, and a lot funnier too. I shared many meals with Walter and his special tomato’s. He gave me advice and support in business and life, that helped me more than I could say. Walter and Lorraine’s love story was a great example for all. I will remember him with a smile.

  4. Dear Lorraine and family,
    It will be the little things that you will remember, the quiet moments, the smiles, the laughter. And although it may seem hard right now, it will be the memories of these little things that help to push away the pain and bring the smiles back again.
    “Gone but never forgotten!”
    I have many memories of Walter from many years and I’m so glad that he was part of my life!

  5. For Pappy: Dad€™s Top 10 Lasting Lessons of Wisdom

    1. Create your own destiny: Both my mom and dad had very difficult childhoods. My dad endured childhood illnesses, poverty, an orphanage and being taken in by foster parents who left him behind to handle the farm during a €œfamily€ vacation – but he never let that define him. Instead he vowed to make a better life for his family and created his own success. He was the loving father he never had.

    2. Say what you think: You always knew where you stood with dad, there was no subtlety, but there was refreshing candor. I remember being mortified when my dad met a former boss of mine and told her, €œDon€™t stay so late at work. When I worked at TRW I came in more than once to find a coworker dead in a pile of their own drool.€ It didn€™t matter that she was my boss – she was in danger of wasting her life behind a desk and he was telling it like it was. When getting ready to leave on a date with Tom, now my husband of nearly 18 years, he handed me aspirin. I asked, €œWhat€™s this for?€ His reply, €œBest form of birth control ever €“ hold it between your knees and you won€™t have any issues! The lesson – Don€™t hold in what needs to be said to make things better or to make your point when it€™s important to you.

    3. Appreciate the natural beauty all around you: Having grown up on a farm, dad had an extraordinary appreciation for nature. He loved gardens, trees, flowers and birds. He even had blue jays eating peanuts from his hands. During every walk he rattled off the names of plants as we passed them. Now I do the same with my sons. He definitely stopped to smell the roses and taught us all to appreciate nature.

    4. Don€™t let people walk all over you: When I came home in tears about a fellow classmate teasing me, mom said, €œTurn the other cheek.€ Dad, however, said, €œHit the other cheek!€ Soon after, I accidentally caught a classmate relieving himself in the bushes. He had his friends hold me as he punched me in the stomach. I broke free and ran home, but then I grabbed our BB gun, went out on the front porch and shot the tree next to them. Dad€™s advice worked, but use it in moderation!

    5. Laugh everyday: My mom and dad were married for 56 years, and just like any healthy marriage they would have quarrels, but what I remember much more often is the laughter. Most of the time when we would get together, even during somber days, we would wind up laughing about something. Dad had plenty of witty comments, comebacks and off color commentary too! He was the ultimate practical joker with everything from hot sauce furtively poured into your orange juice to shaving cream in your shoes. It definitely spiced up our days!

    6. Eat your vegetables: Being a former farmer, dad grew his own fruit and vegetables his entire life. He grew too many to name, but his most common crops were apricots, apples, lettuce, lemons, oranges, tomatoes and his favorite food of all time – green beans. His green beans, cooked Southern-style, are now a favorite for all of us. His secret: bacon, red or white potatoes and €œboiling the piss out of them!€ Having that dish instantly brings me home and made a convert of my former green bean-hating husband. He even brought his own tomatoes with him in a baggy to restaurants. Think of him next time you have tomatoes or green beans.

    7. Be generous: Growing up we bought items on sale, looked for bargains and the best value in everything. When I wanted something really nice I knew to go shopping with dad. At Sears, my patience in the Craftsman Tool area paid off with a trip to the candy counter and a pair of more expensive jeans! He tried
    to make things special by surprising people with nice gestures. Even at his visitation, friends and neighbors shared how he helped them with installing screen doors and every imaginable handyman project, delivered endless care packages of fruit and vegetables and even treated some who earned his respect like a son. The lesson is to be generous and thoughtful with our actions.

    8. Your actions reflect who you are, not your title: Dad didn€™t care if you were a plumber or a CEO, as long as you were a good person and a hard worker, he€™d be your friend and willing lunch partner. If you paid you dues with sweat equity and listened to his instruction, you were golden. The lesson: don€™t judge people by their title, but instead by their actions.

    9. Plan for your future: Being in aerospace and defense resulted in plenty of layoffs and finally a forced early retirement for dad. But he, and mom, planned for their future and never had to adjust their lifestyle. By working hard, saving and investing in fixer uppers, he didn€™t have to worry about climbing the corporate ladder or panicking too much between jobs.

    10. A day not worked is a day not worth living: He had an intense work ethic from his years of working on the farm, waking up before the sun and finishing after sunset. He made sure we had a daily dose of chores. After painting walls at the rental, he€™d take me for a big reward of a soda or a trip to KFC for lunch. Although I wouldn€™t want either today, the effect lasted. He gave me a great gift €“ a fantastic work ethic.

    We all miss him, but hopefully his lessons will live on in those he touched.

  6. My aunt, Vada Mount, was sadden to learn of Walter’s passing. She said that she loved him as much as her own sons,.

  7. Jeffrey,

    Thanks so much for sharing. My dad talked affectionately about her as well referring to her as the closest he had to a mother after his mom passed. She’s a sweet woman. Thank you again,


  8. Pat,

    Thanks so much and thanks for coming out for my father’s services. It’s nice to see so many long time friends came out to honor and celebrate him.

  9. Dear Melinda and Family,
    We are sorry to hear about your loss. May you hold many amazing memories of Walter Beckett. Although we never knew him, we’ve heard some extraordinary stories about his life. I particularly enjoyed reading his top 10 lasting lessons of wisdom. Thank you for sharing his memories and wisdom with us. We are thinking of you during this difficult time.

    With heartfelt condolences,
    Shawna & Matthew Moore

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