Thomas Atcheson Beckley, Esquire, of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, passed from this life on August 10, 2023. He was born in Somerset, Pennsylvania, on May 29, 1933, the son of C. Owen and Dorothy Taylor Beckley. He graduated from Camp Hill High School in 1951 and from Dickinson College in 1955, where he served as the Cadet Colonel of the College’s ROTC program. After graduation, he served for two years on active duty as an officer in the Counter Intelligence Corps of the United States Army, most of which he spent stationed in Stuttgart, Germany. His duties took him behind the Iron Curtain and afforded him the opportunity to travel throughout Europe and North Africa.
In 1957, Tom married Mary Louise Sanford, of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and entered Dickinson Law School, where he served as Articles Editor of the Law Review. Upon graduation, he accepted an appointment as an Honor Graduate with the National Labor Relations Board in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as a field attorney. After a year, he accepted a position with Rhoads & Sinon in Harrisburg. In 1969, Tom became one of the founding partners of the Harrisburg law firm now known as Mette, Evans & Woodside. In 1973, he established Beckley & Madden, where he remained the senior partner until his retirement in 2013.
Being a lawyer was not just a career for Tom. It was who he was. He frequently worked seven days a week and was proud of the service he gave to his many clients. His word was his bond, and he often impressed upon those working with him the importance of maintaining one’s credibility and civility in the legal profession. He served on the Joint State Government Commission’s Advisory Committee on Decedents’ Estates Laws, testified before Congress concerning issues relating to federal labor law, established a legal writing award at Dickinson Law School, and was admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. All of Tom’s four children followed his footsteps into the law, three of whom joined his firm.
When he was not working, Tom enjoyed taking his family on “mystery” vacations to Europe, the Caribbean and elsewhere. He particularly liked Walt Disney World, which he visited at least 25 times. Tom was a voracious reader and a charter member of the “Bumblers,” and loved military history and anything to do with airplanes or submarines. On several occasions he went for rides in vintage World War II aircraft. He had an engaging sense of humor, liked music and had a fine singing voice, appreciated automobiles, especially fast ones, and liked to play golf. He also enjoyed taking the family English bulldogs for rides in his old green pickup truck and playing soccer with them in the yard.
Tom was a member of the Allegheny County, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania and American Bar Associations. He was a 32nd Degree Mason. He also served on the Board of the Leukemia Society and was active in the Camp Hill Presbyterian Church, where he served as a Deacon and an Elder and helped establish the Church’s Foundation. Tom was a formidable presence in the lives of his family, who stressed the value of education and the need for hard work. He will be greatly missed.
Tom’s wife Mary, to whom he was married for 63 years, died in 2020. He is survived by his son Charles Beckley and his wife Susan, of Camp Hill; his son Frederic Beckley and his wife Frances, of Philadelphia, and their two children, Samuel and Sarah, of New York and Philadelphia; his daughter, Judge Elizabeth (“Liesl”) Beckley, of Camp Hill; and his son Thomas Beckley, his wife Karen (“Missy”) Minehan and their two children, Madeline and Jack, of Camp Hill. Tom is also survived by his sister, Ann Barasch, and her husband, Mal, of New York; his niece Amy Barasch, her husband Ray Brescia and their son Leo, of New York; his niece Jody Barasch and her partner Edward Wieland, of Washington, D.C.; and his brother-in-law, RADM Frederic G. Sanford, Medical Corps, USN (Ret.), of Rockville, Maryland.
A funeral service for Tom will be held on Saturday, August 19, 2023, at the Camp Hill Presbyterian Church, at 23rd and Walnut Streets in Camp Hill. Visitation with the family will be from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and the service will commence at 11:30 a.m. Burial will follow the service in Rolling Green Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Lion Foundation, www.thelionfoundation.org, or to the Camp Hill Presbyterian Church Foundation, www.camphillpres.org.