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Robert Clayton Beckett, 86, of Leonardtown died Feb. 1, 2013, at St. Mary’s Nursing Center in Leonardtown, surrounded by his family.
Born March 19, 1926, in Leominster, Mass., he was the son of the late Charles Don Beckett and Evelyn Cormier Beckett.
He joined the U.S. Army in June 1944 as a corporal and was honorably discharged in November 1948. He served in World War II and earned two Bronze Stars. He graduated from Ball State University with a bachelor of science degree in 1953. He joined the U.S. Air Force Reserves as a second lieutenant in May 1955. He was employed by the U.S. Naval Research Lab as a research oceanographer from 1955 to 1983 and was an adjunct professor at Charles County Community County (now the College of Southern Maryland) teaching physics and chemistry for 20 years.
In 1970, he married Gloria C. Beckett, with whom he spent 42 wonderful years. After retirement he taught math and science for 12 years at Victory Christian Academy High School in Richmond, Va. He also taught for eight years at the Bible Institute in Richmond. He was a member of Calvary Pentecostal Tabernacle in Ashland, Va., and VFW Post 6364 in Richmond. He received the Naval Research Lab Exceptional Performance Award in 1974 and 1978 and the Naval Research Publication Award in 1979. He moved to St. Mary’s County in July 2011 from Richmond. He enjoyed spending time with his family.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children, Rusty Beckett of Gray, Maine, Janice Blaine (Richard) of Priest River, Idaho, Carol Vallandingham (Bernard) of Leonardtown, Phillip Beckett (Noreen) of Eagle River, Alaska, Bruce Beckett of Leonardtown, Evelyn Lucas (Mark) of Manassas, Va., and Jonathan Beckett (Midori) of Herndon, Va; stepchildren, Eddie Burbano (Patricia) of Manassas, Jaime Alvaro Burbano Cuellar of Envigado, Colombia, Fernando Burbano of Arlington, Va., and Clemencia Hellebuyck (Rudolfo) of Greenville, S.C.; sister, Helene Baetz of Ann Arbor, Mich.; 25 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents.
The family received friends and prayers were said Feb. 5 at Brinsfield Funeral Home in Leonardtown. The Rev. Joseph Edgington officiated. A graveside service with military honors will be held today, Feb. 6, at noon at Quantico National Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Peter Vallandingham, Bernard Vallandingham, John Vallandingham, James Vallandingham, Julian Burbano and Nate Pappas. Honorary pallbearers will be Paul Robert Lucas, Rafael Hellebuyck, Sebastian Hellebuyck, Lucas Blaine, William Blaine, Yosef Zulal, Connor Beckett and Ryan Beckett.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warriors Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675.