Obituary: Rod Beckman, 69, Ludington.

December 20, 2017

Rod Beckman

Obituary: Rod Beckman, 69, Ludington.

Rod (Rodger) Gregory Beckman
September 18, 1948 – December 20, 2017

Rod Beckman was a loving husband, brother, uncle, son-in-law and friend. The beloved local disc jockey and sports announcer, age 69, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, December 20, 2017.

Rod will be greatly missed by the love of his life, Traci (nee: Bowne); his siblings, Linda (Bob) Gosselin, Bill (Laurie), Beckman, Tom (Jodi) Beckman, mother-in-law, Mary Bowne, brothers-in-law, Chris (Holly) Bowne, Jeff (Candice) Bowne, Shawn (Jenn) Bowne; nieces, Kendra (Jess Saurman) Beckman, Ashleigh Bowne, Skylar Bowne; nephews, Jamie (Trish) Beckman, Derek (Sandra) Beckman, Lance (Lori) Gosselin, Jordan (Allison) Gosselin, Kevin (Jenna) Beckman, Joshua (Dani Hanekow) Bowne; great nieces, Sienna, Morgan, Isabella; great nephews, Weston, Cohen and Carson. Rod is preceded in death by his parents, Lawrence and Irene (nee: Wieman) Beckman, and his sister Laurel.

Rod was born in Shelby, Michigan. He graduated from Shelby High School in 1966. A gifted athlete, he earned 12 varsity letters, four for baseball, three for basketball, three for track and two for football. He played on the 1964-65 Shelby West Michigan Conference Championship and the 1966 Co-Championship teams.

Rod earned a basketball scholarship to Oklahoma State University where he played one year. Rod’s true passion however, was baseball. So, he returned home to Michigan where he attended Muskegon Community College and worked for his father’s business, Beckman Brothers, while playing baseball for the Grand Rapids Sullivans and Muskegon Pepsi teams, as well as in the National Baseball Congress Nationals in 1967 and 1971. Rod was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 1968, where he played in their farm system for three years. He swung the bat for their New York-Penn, Appalachian, Carolina and Florida State leagues before being released in 1971.

In addition to sports, Rod loved music. As a teenager, he was often found with a transistor radio pressed to his ear, and in his later years that habit didn’t change, except that the radio was replaced by an iPod. When he retired from his baseball career, Rod attended broadcasting school, and in 1972 he began his 40-year broadcasting career. He landed a position at WKLA which let him combine his two great passions of sports and music. He spun records on the radio by day and announced Ludington High School football and basketball games by night.

Rod also worked as a play-by-play announcer for Muskegon Community College’s televised basketball games from 1994 to 1997, and umpired Mason County high schools’ baseball and softball games for more than 25 years. Rod left WKLA in 2012 but continued his work as a high school basketball sports announcer at WMOM for one year before retiring. Today, he is an honored member of the Mason County Sports Hall of Fame.

Rod was an active man who loved life and had a diverse array of interests. Ever the athlete, he discovered fast pitch softball, playing on a few different teams, but primarily with the Custer VFW team. Spending time with family and friends was always an important part of Rod’s life, and one of his favorite ways to do this was out on the golf course. In addition, he participated in bowling, hockey, racquetball, shooting pool, fantasy baseball, playing cards, taking walks, cooking, and in his later years he became an avid reader.

Rod and Traci were married on August 24, 1996, and they both loved to say the shared “the best life,” enjoying similar interests and many adventures together. If Rod could have chosen a second career, it would have been as a vacation planner. He loved planning vacations for the two of them, whether it was for a short golfing getaway or spending a month together soaking up Florida sunshine.

They also shared a strong faith, which they believe is the number one reason they were able to handle Rod’s liver transplant in 2013, and his subsequent five-year cancer battle. They attended an Adoration Hour at St. Simon Roman Catholic Church for 19 years. Rod and Traci were also grateful for the strong support they received from family, friends, Henry Ford Hospital nurses and doctors during this time, and are especially thankful for the organ donor who blessed Rod with the gift of an additional four years of life.

Rod’s incredible faith, courage and optimism served as an inspiration for anyone who knew him, every life he touched. His loving heart, lively sense of humor and sparkling blue eyes will be greatly missed by all who loved him. Rod’s fight against cancer ended in the same way as so many of his games did, with a win. Because he lives on now, safe in the arms of Jesus.

A Mass from the Order of Christian Funerals will be held on Saturday, December 23, 2017 at 1 p.m. at St. Simon Catholic Church.  Visitation is on Friday, December 22, 2017 from 1 to 3 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. at Oak Grove Funeral Home & Cremation Center of Ludington.

Memorial donations may be made to: Lakeshore Food Club and Optimist Childhood Cancer Campaign. In addition, Rod and Traci encourage everyone to consider becoming a registered organ donor.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:7

Please share your fond memories and photos of Rod at www.OakGroveFH.com.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington.

 

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