Deacon Gregory John Beckel, 70, of Marstons Mills, Massachusetts, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, June 1st, 2018. Born on August 31st, 1947 in St. Peter, Minnesota, Greg was the son of the late Celestine (Sonny) and Annette Beckel of St. Peter, Minnesota.
Greg graduated from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN in 1969 with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Following graduation he enlisted in the United States Air Force, in which he served our country for 27 years. He initially attended pilot training to fly the F-106 Delta Dart. After a tour at McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Washington, Greg joined the 101st Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Otis Air National Guard Base in Bourne, MA. He later flew the F-15A Eagle ultimately achieving the rank of Colonel. He flew under the call sign “Deacon” which was given to him by his fellow pilots who recognized his passion for serving others. In 1993, he received a Master’s degree in National Security and Decision Making from the Naval War College in Newport, RI. His final flight was on December 26, 1996, when he retired as the Vice Air Commander and Logistics Group Commander of the 102nd Fighter Wing.
Following his retirement, Greg pursued his lifelong dream of serving others in a formal capacity in the Church. He studied for the Permanent Deaconate for the Diocese of Fall River from 1997 to 2002. Bishop Sean O’Malley ordained him as a Deacon in May of 2002, and he was assigned to serve at Christ the King Parish in Mashpee, MA. In addition to his work at Christ the King, Deacon Beckel was a Chaplain at Cape Cod and Falmouth Hospitals, where he gave comfort and hope to the sick and their families until his death.
In all of his roles as a Colonel, Deacon, Chaplain, husband, father, and grandfather, Greg was a vibrant and deeply connected man. He had a lifelong passion for racquetball, and loved watching things grow in his vegetable garden. He enjoyed traveling throughout the United States, and around the world. He was a keystone of strength and support for his wife and children, and he loved spending time with his six grandchildren.
Deacon Beckel is survived by his wife of 48 years, Elizabeth (Ampe) Beckel of Marstons Mills, MA; his daughter Nicole Beckel and her partner Derek Silcox of Plymouth, MA; son Jeffrey Beckel and his wife Christina of Wilbraham, MA along with their sons Erik, Bryan, and Bryce; and daughter Tracy Meattey and her husband Heath of Exeter, NH along with their children Alexandra, Nathaniel, and Sophia. He is also survived by his brother Cletus Beckel and his wife Sharyn of Pittsgrove, NJ; his sister Monica Peterson and her longtime friend Hal Spann of Sauk Rapids, MN; his sister Roseann Boran and her husband Pat of Chanhassen, MN; and his brother Vincent Beckel and his wife Kari of Chaska, MN. In addition, Greg is survived by several aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.
Visiting hours will be at Christ the King Church on Thursday, June 7th from 3:00-7:00pm, with a flyover of F-15 Eagles planned for 3:00pm. Funeral Mass will be held at 9:30am at Christ the King Church on Friday, June 8th with burial to follow at 11:30am at Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, MA. Following the burial, a reception will be held at Christ the King Parish Hall.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Donations can be sent to Christ the King Parish, The Commons, P.O. Box 1800, Mashpee, MA 02649.
Greg’s family wishes to thank our community of friends at Christ the King Parish, as well as the First Responders and the staff at Sportsite and Cape Cod Hospital.