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The Carthage Press
  • Carthage veteran shares life story

  • From the dairy industry to his service in World War II, Dale Beckman has helped a lot of people.
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  • From the dairy industry to his service in World War II, Dale Beckman has helped a lot of people.
    On March 13, Dale turned 90 years old. Originally from Lincoln, Neb., he graduated from Lincoln High School with the Class of 1937 among 921 seniors.
    He was learning how to make all kinds of dairy products from the University of Nebraska when the war began. Dale was among 91 young men from Lincoln to go to Leavenworth.
    He was the only one to request and get into the Army Air Corp.; the rest went into army field artillery and were some of the first soldiers to go into Africa.
    “I was the only one who come home,” Dale said.
    Dale was in the ground service in the air force, repairing B-17s.
    “We fixed any hole you could climb through,” he said. “I was the number two student in the class of 250, and I was the youngest – I was 18.”
    Dale served five years, always stationed at Bury St. Edmunds in England.
    When he came home, he worked while he finished his education. He double majored in agriculture dairy and bacteriology and minored in chemistry.
    Around that time he fell in love with Dorothy Shriner.
    “I told her we were either going to get married or we were going to go our separate ways … we got married,” Dale said.
    That year was 1947, which was also the same year Dale joined the Masons.
    Dale and Dorothy were married for more than 30 years before she passed away. They never had any children and he never remarried.
    “I'm a lone ranger,” he said.
    In 1951, Dale suffered penicillin reactions and couldn't work for two years. After a careful recovery, Dale learned he couldn't work in the dairy business anymore. Through a matter of coincidences, a good friend in Kansas City told Dale he had a job with International Paper.
    “I traveled for them for 30 years, doing sales and service,” Dale said. “I had a new car every year, sometimes putting 100,000 miles on them.”
    In 1982, Dale retired out of Boston, but he wasn't completely done. The company would periodically call him with issues and questions.
    Dale was a problem-solver, and proved to be essential to the industry, helping build new facilities and getting locations out of bankruptcy.
    “I was a doer,” he said. “I wasn't going to sit on butt.”
    Dale quit (really) four and a half years ago.
    “I've helped people fix problems,” Dale said. “I've played a lot of golf all around the world.”
    Page 2 of 2 - He played until he wore out his shoulder. He has played in Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, Germany, Italy and Egypt. He's played where the professionals play, never shooting out of the 70s. But golf, he said, was the reason he moved from the east to Joplin, Mo.
    Smiling at some happy memories, Dale then shared something important from his early years.
    “I think in the beginning of my life, mother made us go to church,” he said. “My brother didn't like it, I think he sneaked out the back. But I think that wore into me. I came pretty close to being a minister, but decided to go to college. Early life was what kept us on a straight and narrow, I think. I had grown up in the country, joining the Army was a whole new life.”
    Dale was the eldest child of Leonard and Shirley Beckman. He has two sisters and one brother. As part of a different generation, Dale shared his opinion of today's youth.
    “The trouble with young people today is that they're lazy – both physically and mentally,” he said. “They're afraid to do something.”
    Dale moved to Carthage to attend the VFW after the Joplin tornado destroyed the Joplin post. Now, he enjoys visiting the C.A.N. D.O. Senior Center and sits at the designated “Ornery” table.
    “I've had a good life,” he said. “I enjoy helping people; I always have.”
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