Katherine “Kaye” Marie Beckham – loving wife, mother, nana, great-grandmother, daughter, sister – and pillar of the Eagle Rock community, died on Sunday, July 19. She was 78.
Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1942, the daughter of Michael and Josephine Stech, Kaye was nine years old when her family moved to Eagle Rock. The Steches lived in a home on Range Road built by Kaye’s father. Kaye attended Delevan Drive Elementary School and graduated from Eagle Rock High School in the Class of 1960.
A year later, she married James Bordon Beckham. Kaye and Jim, who met and fell in love on a blind date, had three children, Cynthia, James and Tamara. They lived initially in Glendale, moving to Eagle Rock as their family grew. Along the way, Kaye attended Glendale Community College, received her degree as a Licensed Vocational Nurse and worked for many years in labor and delivery at Kaiser as well as in private obstetrical practices.
A pivotal moment in her professional life came in 1981, when she opened her own business, LTC Home Health Care Services, Inc. on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock. At LTC, Kaye’s nurturing, compassionate qualities, blended with her business acumen and can-do attitude, helped to build an enterprise that became a trusted local source for families seeking home care for their loved ones.
The launch of LTC also deepened Kaye’s involvement in her beloved Eagle Rock community. In 1982, she became a director of the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce and over the next 35 years, held elected Chamber offices including Secretary, First Vice President, Second Vice President and President. She also edited the Chamber’s newsletter for 30 years, from 1985 to 2015.
In her decades as a business and community leader, Kaye was always engaged in issues and efforts to improve the quality of life in Eagle Rock. She was recognized as an organizer, respected for her focus, cherished as a friend. She combined grace and generosity with strong-mindedness and resilience. She brought a characteristic touch of class to every project she undertook.
In 1987, Councilmember Richard Alatorre appointed her to the Board of the Colorado Specific Plan, a major boulevard planning initiative. In 1993, Mayor Richard Riordan appointed her to the Cultural Heritage Commission for the City of Los Angeles. She partnered with the L.A. Police Department, local schools, libraries and park officials to create a drug-free community and she represented Eagle Rock on the Community Advisory Board for the LAPD Northeast Division.
Kaye was also a central figure in two of Eagle Rock’s most significant preservation efforts. As a member of the Save the Eagle Rock Monument committee, she took part in the years’ long battle, starting in 1988, to protect the land around the Eagle Rock from development. In 1995, the City purchased the Eagle Rock to preserve it as open space, using $500,000 raised by the committee. Kaye also served on the Blue Ribbon Committee formed in 1989 to decide how to refurbish and repurpose the abandoned public library building on Colorado Boulevard that is today the Center for the Arts Eagle Rock and a designated Historic-Cultural Monument.
True to their generous spirits and kind hearts, Kaye and Jim became foster parents in 1998, welcoming Lori, an 8th grader at the time, into their family. They were proud and blessed to see her graduate from Eagle Rock High School and go onto to receive her master’s degree.
Kaye loved to entertain – any reason to get her family together. She loved attending her grandchildren’s sporting events and programs. She was always their biggest fan and family meant everything to her. Her love of gathering with family extended to the broader community. She was the organizer of the annual Eagle Rock Olde Fashioned Christmas for over 20 years. She also organized the parade and gala for the 100th anniversary of Eagle Rock in 2011.
Kaye was preceded in death by her husband, James, of 43 years, who died in 2004. In 2010, she married David Dickinson, who survives her. She is also survived by her four children, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, one sister and three brothers.
The Family of Kaye Beckham
Services for Kaye Beckham were held on July 31 at the Church of the Recessional Courtyard at Forest Lawn in Glendale.
In lieu of flowers, Tribute Donations can be made in honor of Kaye Beckham at the Alzheimer’s Association: act.alz.org/donate