Sandra K. Beckman, 79, passed away on January 17, 2021 at 2:10 am. She was preceded in death by her parents, Catherine and Wallace Mills of St. Joseph, Illinois. She married her husband, Jim, of 53 years on October 28, 1967. They were blessed with two beautiful children who honored them with a 50th Anniversary celebration in October 2017 at the Jacoby Arts Center.
Sandra was born on June 18, 1941 at Carle Hospital in Urbana, IL. She grew up on a farm near St. Joseph and always said it was the best life anyone could ever have. At 4 ½ years of age she began taking piano lessons, and her parents recognized her God-given talent for music. It became her passion and choice of career. While in high school, Sandra was the organist for her church, played for weddings and funerals, and gave piano lessons after school. That continued later as she was organist/pianist for several Alton area churches, played for weddings, and accompanied Alton students for their music contests.
Sandra graduated from the University of Illinois in FAA and began her first years teaching music in Chrisman, IL and then Champaign. While Jim was serving in the Air Force, stationed in Izmir, Turkey, she joined him and taught for a while in the American schools there. Upon returning to the states in the fall of 1969 with their first born, Jamie (9 mo.), Sandra began teaching music in the Alton School District until 1976 when she began teaching Kindergarten. She was a much beloved Kindergarten teacher until retiring from the district in 2001. She was blessed by the many friendships over the years and cherished the wonderful mentors she had, especially Ken Conrady and Dick Propes. She loved sharing the teaching scene with Jim, who also taught in the Alton Schools.
Sandra was most honored to be asked to join the Carillon Guild in 1996, performing each summer on the Carillon bells for the Sunday evening concerts at the Nan Elliott Memorial Rose Garden in Gordon Moore Park. In 2007, she was honored as a “Woman of Distinction”. She was a past member of Godfrey Women’s Club and volunteered over the years at Caravan, Oasis, Beverly Farms, and the Hope Center.
After she and Jim retired, they enjoyed traveling all over the beautiful USA and spending winters in Fort Meyers, FL. They have lived in their home for 47 years and have the very best neighbors, Rod and Marcia Thornton, that anyone could ever have!
Besides her husband, Sandra is survived by her wonderful and extremely talented family: daughter, Jamie (Tom) and grandchildren Sarah and Jacob Pullen of Alton; son, Randy (Carol) and grandchildren Joseph, Reese, and Andrew Beckman of Wood River; step-granddaughter, Kira (Robert) and great-grandchildren Joey and Canzada Cowan of Wood River; and step-grandson, Christopher (Nikki) and great-grandchildren Jovie and Jackson Marsh of Wood River.
Other very special surviving family are her “Mills” family in the St. Joseph-Ogden, IL area: her brother, Dan (Brenda) Mills; nephews Greg (Becky) Mills and John (Beth) Mills; great-nieces Ava, Bailey, and Carson Mills; great-nephews Bryan (Cara) Mills and Steven (Katie) Mills; and great-great-nieces Hadleigh Mills and Reagan Mills.
Just as special and surviving are her “Beckman” families: sister-in-law Shirley Bozorghmehr of Alton; sister-in-law Mary (Moine) McGibany of Atlantic Beach, FL; brother-in-law Don (Ruby) Beckman of Rockford, IL; nephews John Bozorghmehr of Alton, Ryan McGibany of Neptune Beach, FL and Steven Beckman of Byron, IL; great-nieces Kailee McGibany of Neptune Beach and Alexis Beckman of Byron; and great-nephew Bradley Beckman of Byron.
She was a loyal and proud member of Faith Fellowship Church in Godfrey and loved her pastors, Dr. Daymond (Cindy) Talkington, David (Allyn) Blackburn, and Jeff (Jean) Heil, and all the wonderful and supportive friends there that made church so extra-special. She and Jim looked forward to their Pullen family performing on Sundays in the praise band. Her families meant everything to her. She was so grateful that they are all followers of Christ and faithful members of a church and that their actions reflect that. She and Jim were so proud of their families and all their many accomplishments and were always there to support their interests and performances.
Sandra was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2018. She was well taken care of by all the staff at the Washington University Siteman Cancer Center and Barnes Jewish Hospital. She was so grateful for all the encouragement, prayers, and uplifting cards she received from her families, church prayer circles, and the many friends she has made over the years. She so enjoyed weekly outings with Barb Norman, Carolyn Bumbacher, Lanita Sims, and Mary Wiley. She and Jim loved eating out at the local restaurants in the area, but Sunday evenings were Family Day when she and Jim hosted dinner and card playing for their children and grandchildren. Everyone’s support everywhere she went was overwhelming and was the reason she was able to stay positive throughout the treatments. As God was her Savior, she knew He had a plan for her…..and she accepted it with grace.
A private service will be held for family, and a Celebration of Life event will be announced at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Faith Fellowship or Siteman Cancer Center.
Elias, Kallal and Schaaf Funeral Home in Godfrey is in charge of arrangements.
Online condolences and guest book can be found at www.eliaskallalandschaaf.com