James M. Beckman was truly a child of his beloved Martha’s Vineyard. He may have been technically born in Binghamton, N.Y., but no one felt the pulse of this Island running through his veins more than Jim. His parents, Evelyn Hall Beckman and James E. Beckman, relocated to the Island when Jim was just a baby, and he grew up boating and water skiing in Vineyard waters, playing in cranberry bogs and exploring the woods of Northern Pines.
Jim graduated from the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School in 1963 and went on to earn engineering degrees from Franklin Institute and Northeastern University. While working for Stone and Webster in Boston, he married Donna J. Marshall in 1970. But the Island kept calling him back, and in 1974, Jim returned to the Vineyard to take over his father’s painting business.
Throughout his life, Jim never stopped his quest for knowledge and adventure. He acquired many licenses and wore many hats, from airplane pilot, real estate agent, PADI certified diving instructor, CDL driver, master sand-blaster, marine contractor and sea captain. Jim also had an intense love of the music of his era. He was a proficient bass and rhythm guitar player, and performed in many bands in the area.
Jim was active in the Masons for many years, and a member of the Martha’s Vineyard Lodge, the Royal Arch, the Community Shriners and the Dalhousie Lodge in Newton.
The light of his life was his daughter Laura J. Beckman, executive pastry chef at the Black Dog Café. From the time Laura was old enough, they did everything together from skin diving and skiing to snow plowing and raking leaves. Jim taught Laura to see the good in everyone and to find fun in every activity. He was exceedingly proud of her and her accomplishments, and loved everything Black Dog.
Jim’s final decade was spent with his loving companion, Eniko DeLisle, whose devotion to him was unwavering as he battled cancer valiantly for nearly as many years. She brought out Jim’s playful side and together they built a garden railroad, traveled to Disneyland, and threw many dinner parties for friends. To know Jim was to love him, and he left behind countless friends when he died at his home in Edgartown at age 66 on Oct. 2.
A Masonic graveside service will be held on Sunday, Oct. 21 at noon in the Oak Grove Cemetery, on State Road in Vineyard Haven, officiated by the Oriental-Martha’s Vineyard Masonic Lodge. A reception will be held at the Masonic Lodge, 52 Vineyard Haven-Edgartown Road (opposite Jardin Mahoney Garden Center) from 1 to 4 p.m. Flowers are welcome, or donations may be made in his memory to the Masonic Angel Fund, P.O. Box 5046, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.