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Beckman remembered for lifetime serving Batavia

Updated: February 25, 2013 12:44PM



BATAVIA — Former Batavia Alderman Charles “Chuck” Beckman Jr. is being remembered for three decades of service to the city.

“He really gave a lot of his own time and energies to seeing that Batavia became a better, kinder and gentler place,” Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke said.

Beckman, 84, died Sunday.

Schielke described Beckman as a “hands-on” alderman, who at one point had the record of being the city’s longest serving alderman.

Schielke said probably one of the high points of Beckman’s tenure on the City Council was serving as chairman of the special committee that oversaw the construction of the first rendition of the fire station on West Main Street and the new city public works building.

“He thought the public works building was long overdue,” Schielke said.

Beckman was born in Aurora and grew up in Batavia, the eldest of seven children. He left school at the age of 14 to work odd jobs to help support the family, but later earned his GED weeks prior to his oldest child’s high school graduation.

Beckman enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served from 1951 through 1955. On returning to Batavia, he joined the Batavia Fire Department. Beckman is pictured in a 1950 photograph with his fellow firefighters and the department’s Dalmatian mascot “Streamer” in “John Gustafson’s Historic Batavia.”

“On night duty he would be in the station by himself — there were no dispatchers and he would go out on calls by himself,” the mayor said, adding the late alderman also was on the department when the city began the first rescue squad in the region.

In 1957, Beckman opened his own business, Chuck’s Garage, with a $38 tool box and a truck.

Beckman began his public service on the Batavia School Board, then served on the City Council from 1975 to 2005, holding the title of longest serving alderman until recent years.

“He was a darn good alderman, set in his ways and persuasive,” Alderman Eldon Frydendall said.

Frydendall, who worked with Beckman on the renovation of the building for City Hall and the building of a public works facility, will complete 32 years serving constituents next April.

“There were times we disagreed, but it never interfered with our friendship. I could have a disagreement with him on the council and go out to his garage the next day and have a cup of coffee with him,” Frydendall said.

Beckman is survived by his wife, Norma, whom he met in grammar school, and four children, as well as grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Moss Family Funeral Home in Batavia. The funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Batavia Covenant Church in Batavia. Interment will be in West Batavia Cemetery.



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