In Memoriam: John Beckerle


The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death of retiree John Beckerle on May 14 at his home in Falmouth.  He was 89.

John was born February 14, 1923, in Mount Vernon, NY.  He was the son of John P. and Helen (Caufield) Beckerle.  John received a B.S. from Manhattan College in Physics and Math in 1948, and a Ph.D. from Catholic University of America in 1953.

John served in the US Army in the Pacific Theater of War during World War II.

John began his career at WHOI in 1964 as an associate scientist in the Geology and Geophysics Department working with J.B. Hersey. His career focused on the science of the ocean, notably on the use of underwater sound to explore the Bermuda Triangle region of the Atlantic. After a long career, he retired in 1980. Prior to his career at WHOI, he worked at Bell Telephone Laboratories in New Jersey.

In retirement he kept active. In 2004, he volunteered to teach a course for Woods Hole Science and Technology Education Partnership (WHSTEP). The same year, he taught a course for parents on physics through the Falmouth Night School. His avocations included playing piano, as well as tennis, the latter until age 87.

He was the former husband of the late Kathleen J. (Holland) Beckerle. Dr. Beckerle leaves his sister, Marie Beckerle of Falmouth; his two sons, John David Beckerle of Clemson, South Carolina, and Michael James Beckerle of Needham, MA; and five grandchildren, Connor, Devin, and Liam Beckerle of Clemson, South Carolina, and Francesca and Martin Beckerle of Needham, MA.

A wake will be held on Friday, May 18, from 2 - 4 p.m., and 7 - 9 p.m. in the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, 584 West Falmouth Highway, West Falmouth, MA.

A funeral Mass will be held at St. Joseph Church in Woods Hole at 11 a.m., on Saturday, May 19. His remains will be cremated. Interment at a future date will be at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, 60 Cutter Mill Road, Suite 404, Great Neck, NY 11021.

Some of the information for this obituary was taken from the Falmouth Enterprise.


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