Thomas Joseph Beckwith, known to his friends as “Joe,” passed away at his home in Auburn, Alabama, on Saturday, May 22, 2021, at the age of 66 years after a two-and-a-half-year battle with cancer. Despite his pain, Joe continued to be the local hero that he was and stayed strong until the end.
Joe was born on January 28, 1955, in Opelika, Alabama, to Bill Beckwith and Anne (Bailey) Beckwith. He graduated from Auburn High School and Auburn University where he played baseball, setting multiple pitching records before joining the major leagues and winning two World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981 and with the Kansas City Royals in 1985.
After baseball, he returned to his hometown of Auburn to join the corporate world in the concrete industry. Over the years Joe volunteered his time and abilities to local youth baseball and softball programs, with one of his teams winning the Dixie Youth state championship in 2004. Joe earned a place on the famed Tiger Trail around downtown Auburn in 1996 and was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. He was recently honored at Auburn High School and Auburn University where they declared April 21, 2021, to be “Joe Beckwith Day.”
Joe will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 29 years, Lee; his children, Bailey (Will), Tyler (Kelsey), Reynolds (Drew), Allie (Christopher), and Merrill (Amy); and his three precious grandchildren, Prim, Foster, and Rutherford. Joe will also be forever remembered by his brother, Bill Jr. (Deborah); his stepsister, Ann (Rusty); his stepbrothers, David (Sandra) and Bill (Susan); and his cousin and second “Mama,” Pat. Joe was preceded in death by his mother, Anne; his father, Bill; his stepmother, Marjorie; and his granddaughter, Grace.
A funeral service in memory of Joe will be held on Monday, May 24, 2021, at 11:30 a.m. at Auburn United Methodist Church, 137 S Gay St., Auburn, Alabama, with Pastor Cory Smith and Tim Thompson officiating. The family will greet friends at the church on Monday from 10 a.m. until the time of service. A graveside service will immediately follow at Memorial Park Cemetery, 1000 E Samford Ave., Auburn, Alabama, with Pastor Miles Fidell officiating.
Memorial donations in memory of Joe may be made to the Joe Beckwith Scholarship Fund at cfeastalabama.org or mailed to the Community Fund of East Alabama at P.O. Box 165, Opelika, AL 36803, or to the charity of your choice.
Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home and Crematory directing.
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