Ray Beckering Jr. ’58

Dedicated husband, father, grandfather, and friend Dr. Raymond E. Beckering, Jr. passed away unexpectedly on Friday, April 3, 2020.

Ray was born in Chicago, Illinois to the late Rev. Raymond and Harriet (Hasper) Beckering. Ray graduated from Calumet High School in 1954 and then attended Hope College on a scholarship from the Pullman Educational Foundation. He was nearly expelled from Hope for a senior prank involving hiding all the hymnals behind the organ pipes at Dimnent Chapel. But he managed to graduate, exactly one spot in the class rankings behind his eventual wife, something that she would occasionally raise to keep him humble. Ray went onto the University of Michigan Medical School and, during this time, reconnected with his Hope College classmate, Joyce Leighley.

They married in 1962. Ray finished his training in clinical and anatomical pathology at the Mayo Clinic, where he served as chief resident and in the Army National Guard. Ray and Joyce moved to Grand Haven, Michigan in 1971, a place that he visited as a child, and fished for perch off the pier, and at a spot that reminded Joyce of her youth at Jones Beach. Here, they raised their three sons, Raymond Beckering III, a federal prosecutor in Grand Rapids, Jim Beckering, an art teacher and potter living in Petoskey, and Tom Beckering, a restaurateur and back-country snowboarder living in Incline Village, Nevada.

Ray was a partner at Westshore Pathology in Grand Haven for 29 years where he also was the director of laboratories at North Ottawa Community Hospital and Chief Medical Examiner for Ottawa County. Ray was very proud of the dedicated, long-serving staff and the work done at the lab, as well as the unique Christmas parties that he and Dr. Lee DeMeester hosted every year. After retiring from medicine, Ray worked as a consultant for Buchanan & Buchanan in Grand Rapids for more than decade. He was an academic doctor who loved science and critical thought. Patients, staff, fellow doctors, law enforcement, and the community benefited from his world-class practice of medicine.

Ray was equally dedicated to his family. He and Joyce gave their sons an idyllic childhood at the beach in Grand Haven, on the lakes of Northern Michigan, and in the mountains of Northern California. Throughout his life, he provided his sons with opportunities, supported their individual endeavors, and cheered their successes.

Ray’s personal pleasures included golfing, fishing, stacking wood, and hiking. After years of pursuit at the Spring Lake Country Club, he finally scored an elusive hole-in-one in 2011 on hole #6 at Desert Springs. He and Joyce enjoyed many evenings playing dominoes and discussing family and the world’s issues with Norm and Carolyn Boeve. And Ray left this world still debating Len Anderson about the best sized hook for catching smallmouth bass. Ray loved hiking the Five Lakes trail in North Lake Tahoe with Joyce and his sister and brother-in-law, Hope and Richard Brandsma, followed by dinner at one of his son’s restaurants, Christy Hill or Pianeta.

Following Joyce’s passing in 2012, Ray was fortunate to find and marry Beverly Hoffman Beckering in 2017, and they enjoyed traveling and hosting friends at their home in Surprise, Arizona. Others who will miss Ray are his three daughters-in-law, Jane, Kristan, and Nicole, as well as his five grandchildren: Marlee, Katie, Raymond IV, Marek, and Payton.

Ray’s unique form of caring was objectivity. The “constant use of the scientific method must in the end leave its impress upon him who uses it. A life spent in accordance would be of a high order. It would practically conform to the teachings of the highest types of religion. The motives would be different, but so far as conduct is concerned, the results would be practically identical.” Dr. Beckering will be remembered for his authenticity, respectfulness, intellect, and passion for his work.

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