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Oak Bay community loses strong supporter

In a photo taken March 17 this year, Brian Beckett stands in the Kiwanis Tea Room on Willows Beach, one of his favourite places in Oak Bay. - sharon Tiffin/News staff
In a photo taken March 17 this year, Brian Beckett stands in the Kiwanis Tea Room on Willows Beach, one of his favourite places in Oak Bay.
— image credit: sharon Tiffin/News staff

Oak Bay’s Brian Beckett died peacefully on Aug. 29 at age 77.

Best known for his community work through the Oak Bay Kiwanis, Beckett and his wife Deanna retired here in 2000 after a 10-year cruise around the world.

The water was home to Beckett who retired from a 36-year career with the Royal Canadian Navy in 1989 as Base Commander at CFB Esquimalt. The couple spent their early retirement years cruising in and around Europe, then crossing the Atlantic, spending another five years with winters in the Caribbean and summers on the east coast of the U.S.

The pair came home to Oak Bay in 2000 and Beckett immediately became immersed in the Oak Bay Kiwanis, where he served as president and board chair of the Oak Bay Kiwanis Pavilion Foundation.

“He was very committed to Kiwanis and the community. He was a very hard worker,” said current Oak Bay Kiwanis Pavilion Foundation board chair Joan Trumble.

Beckett championed the renovation of the Oak Bay tea room and was a tireless volunteer there.

“He was an awesome gentleman who worked hard for the Oak Bay community both in terms of community events and his contributions through the Oak Bay Kiwanis Pavilion Foundation,” said Oak Bay Fire Chief Dave Cockle, who also serves on the Kiwanis Pavilion Foundation Board.

“He had a great ability to see a vision of where we should be and how we should get there. I think his navy experience helped move the group forward.”

Beckett was well-known in the community, but especially at the Kiwanis Tea Room at Willows Beach where he kept things running smoothly.

“He took so much pride in what he did, but he balanced that with his family life and work schedule,” said Cockle, who referred to Beckett as a “go-to” guy.

“That will make a very big difference for all of us. We will miss him very much.”

The Oak Bay Kiwanis Pavilion is a complex care facility which specializes in the assistance of people with dementia and provides care through all stages of dementia, it is a cause Beckett was passionate about.

“Care and compassion. He believed in that and wanted to create that kind of an environment and keep it going with things like providing music therapy which makes such a difference in the (residents’) lives. He was a big supporter and always made sure there was funding,” said Cockle.

A natural leader, Beckett was forward thinking, comfortable in a crowd and always one-step ahead of everyone, said Trumble. “He had a very, very sharp mind and really could analyze things and think of things before the rest of us,” she said.

“He will be sorely missed by his family, friends, club members and the community as a whole,” added Cockle.

Beckett is survived by his wife Deanna, six children, 11 grandchildren and one great grandchild.

A private family ceremony was held Tuesday and a ceremony of life with friends and family was held Wednesday. Donations in Beckett’s memory may be made to the Oak Bay Kiwanis Pavilion or the Canadian Cancer Society.

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