JOHN NOEL BECKETT
December 9, 1946 – February 22, 2008
John was born in Harlan, Kentucky on the 9th of December, 1946 to William Beckett Jr. (1922-1977) and Mary Ellen Williams Beckett (1924-1984). It was right after the end of WWII, two weeks before Christmas, when John joined his older brother Billie William Myron Beckett (1942) and older sister Christina Beckett (1945-1983). Early on, the family moved from rural Harlan, Kentucky to the Northern suburb of Chicago, Round Lake, Illinois, on the shores of Lake Michigan. John attended and graduated from Round Lake High School in June of 1963.
On September 7, 1967 he married to his high school sweetheart In Ingleside, IL – certain they would remain inseparable forever. Fate had different ideas. As would happen with many young men his age, he was drafted into the U.S. Army on October 9, 1967 only a month after the wedding. Many draftees chose to minimize their risk and do the least they could do while fulfilling the obligation to their country, but not John. John volunteered to serve as an elite Army Ranger with the 2nd Bde. LRRPs of the 4th Infantry Division in Kontum Province of the Central Highlands in Vietnam. While all of the 4th Division LRRPs were to be re-designated Company K (Ranger), 75th Infantry (Airborne), John maintained a lifelong fierce loyalty to that small band of LRRPs working out of the 2nd Bde firebase “The Oasis”. John was honorably discharged on October 8, 1969 having earned numerous awards and decorations including his coveted Combat Infantryman’s Badge, awarded only to those Infantry soldiers who actually faced his nations enemies in battle. Upon discharge, he soon experienced his first divorce then relocated to Texas to begin life anew. In 1979, while living in Tarrant, TX, he met and married Kristine A. Beckett and they remained married until 1986 when he endured another divorce. John moved, once again, to Phoenix, AZ where he finally found what had eluded him for all those years – his true soul mate, Terry. Terry and John were married in Phoenix, AZ and remained devoted to each other until John’s passing.
John is remembered as a courageous warrior who brought great honor to both his family and his brother LRRP / Rangers. In later years, when faced with the debilitating illness that took his life early, he once again displayed the Ranger traits of Courage, Spirit, and Endurance. On February 22, 2008, surrounded by his loving family, he was released from his pain which had become his constant companion. His life was made more meaningful having risked everything in the hostile jungles of Vietnam and in return he greatly impacted those loved ones and friends he had to leave behind on his next journey.
RANGERS LEAD THE WAY!