Dorothy Alice Beckett, 86, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend, died peacefully in her home on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010.

The daughter of Lawrence and Amalia Roth Glick Van Gorden, Dorothy was born in Saginaw on April 12, 1924. After the death of her father from tuberculosis, Dorothy helped her mother raise four younger siblings while simultaneously attending Arthur Hill High School.

Following graduation and her own bout with tuberculosis, Dorothy was employed by the Saginaw Division of Michigan Bell Telephone Company. While at Bell, new employee James Beckett (from Bay City, recently returned from the European Front), introduced himself to her. Six months later, Jim proposed to Dorothy in the Big House during half time of the 1946 Michigan/Northwestern game. Mr. and Mrs. Beckett celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary on Feb. 8.

In 1951, Jim and Dorothy moved to Traverse City, where Jim was named the local area manager of Michigan Bell. Dorothy became a full time mother, providing a welcoming home for her five children and their friends.

Dorothy worked tirelessly with the school system, agencies and other parents to establish inclusive opportunities for children with special needs. She also contributed her time and organizational skills to the St. Francis Altar Society, St. Francis and Boardman School PTAs, Montessori, Girl Scouts, Rotary Anns, Easter Seals, National Cherry Festival, and Munson and Osteopathic Hospital. Additionally Dorothy was the talented woman behind her husband, Jim, supporting him with extensive civic involvement.

Dorothy established her own career as well. For 26 years she was a vital staff member of the Traverse City Record-Eagle. Dorothy was hired by the newspaper in 1969 as a proofreader. She later became responsible for all bridal, obituary, birth, graduation, student news, military news and community announcements. Dorothy was admired for her professional diplomacy and attention to detail. No announcement or written story from birth to death was ever routine to her in the community relations department. She handled each one with genuine interest in the family and its history. Dorothy always said, "I loved my job."

Throughout her life and in her retirement years, Dorothy enjoyed travelling, cooking, needlepoint, fabric, flowers, sewing, scrabble, bananagrams, big band music, crossword puzzles, card games and spending time with her children, grandson and granddaughter. She was also a passionate fan of the University of Michigan Football. Dorothy survived several strokes with great courage, determination and a sense of humor.

Dorothy is survived by her loving husband, James; daughters, Barbara Ann (Dr. Matthew A. Houghton Jr.), of Glen Arbor, Carolyn Marie (Peter) Coppelman, of Alexandria, Va., and Janice Elizabeth (Steven Duddles), of Big Rapids; son, James Robert (Nora), of Traverse City; grandson, Alexander Beckett Coppelman; granddaughter, Elizabeth Beckett Coppelman; and brothers, Larry (Marie) Glick, of Saginaw, and James (Rachel) Glick, of Royal Oak. She is also survived by many special nieces and nephews.

Dorothy was preceded in death by her infant twin son, Robert James; and sisters, Marian Louise (Glick) Beckett and Jean Ann (Glick) St. Clair Clarke.

Visitation for friends and family will be held on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010, from 6 to 8 p.m., at St. Francis Catholic Church. Sister Katherine will recite the rosary at 7 p.m. Father Ken Stachnik will preside at the Mass of Christian Burial celebrating Dorothy's life on Friday, Nov. 19, 2010, at 11 a.m., at St. Francis Catholic Church. All friends are invited to join the family for a luncheon immediately following the Mass in the family center.

Memorial contributions in Dorothy's honor may be directed to St. Francis Catholic Church, Northwestern Michigan College James and Dorothy Beckett Scholarship Fund or to the Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools Foundation James and Dorothy Beckett Scholarship Fund.

Please share your condolences and memories with the family online at Dorothy's online guestbook at

The family is being served by Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home.

Trending Video

Recommended for you