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Beckham family photo
Ray and Janette Hales Beckham

PROVO — Serving others seems to be the theme in the lives of Janette Hales Beckham and her husband, Ray.

They find the time to serve by forgoing other kinds of pastimes.

"I don't fish and I don't golf," said Ray Beckham.

His hobbies instead are his family, his church and his interest in sports.

"I grew up learning how to get involved," said his wife.

Recently named chairwoman of the Utah Valley State College Board of Trustees, Janette Beckham has also served on the Brigham Young University Board of Trustees and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Board of Education. She served from 1992-1997 as president of the Young Women's organization for the LDS Church, coordinating activities for 500,000 girls worldwide. She served on the board of directors of Deseret Book Co. and has worked with numerous civic organizations.

In 1988-90 she served a term in the Utah State Legislature in the House of Representatives for Provo District 63, then was called to the Young Women organization as a counselor. She has also served on the boards of several other organizations.

"I never wanted to sound like a list," she said.

As trustees chairwoman she is heavily involved in turning UVSC into a university by July 1, 2008.

"It's an exciting time for us," she said.

Her husband, meanwhile, having recently turned 80, is a trustee and consultant for the Crandall Historical Printing Museum. He was chairman of the Utah County Red Cross and president of the Utah National Parks Councils. He has been honored with many awards and accolades.

In his younger years Ray Beckham played football as a halfback for Brigham Young University and tight end for its archrival, the University of Utah. He also served with the U.S. Coast Guard.

When he graduated from BYU, he was offered a temporary job as director of the university's adult education department that evolved into a 42-year career.

As an administrator he organized the evening school and the travel study department. He served as alumni director for 10 years and was BYU's first development director, a fund-raising post he held for five years. Among the fund-raising projects he led was the construction of the Marriott Center and the football stadium.

While serving as alumni director, the alumni camp in the mountains above Provo was slated to be turned back to the John R. Stewart family, as demanded in a legal clause if the school quit using it for educational purposes.

President Earnest Wilkinson favored giving the property back, but Beckham had another idea.

Working with Stewart heirs, attorney Justin Stewart and his sister, Ida, in 1963, Ray Beckham founded the Aspen Grove Family Camp after they agreed to sell BYU more land to square off the property.

"I had a lot of memories of Aspen Grove," Ray Beckham said. "I had been there on a lot of weekends."

BYU didn't have the funds to develop the family camp, so Beckham went to 100 prominent people and requested $1,000 from each. Thus the camp was built — including structures, power, water and sewage — for an initial $100,000.

"It's always paid its way," he said.

After more than two decades as an administrator, he turned to teaching. Up until that point he was comfortable in his administrative positions.

"I never dreamed of being a professor," he said.

Earlier he earned a bachelor's degree in marketing and a masters in communication. So he decided to earn a doctorate, also in communications. His early experience had also included a stint at Evans Advertising in Salt Lake City.

Once he had the advanced degree he taught advertising and public relations at BYU for more than 20 years.

Now married for 12 years, the couple met in the church's parking garage when she was serving as Young Women's president and he was on a church public affairs mission. Each had previously been widowed and has five adult children.

Ray Beckham's church service includes president of the Canada Calgary Mission (1973-76), bishop, stake president, regional representative of the church's Quorum of the Twelve and a variety of high level committees.

In 1997 the couple was named Reed Smoot Citizens of the Year by Provo city, and they also received the Sons of the Utah Pioneers "Modern Pioneer" award.

Together they were on the LDS Church Olympic Committee in coordinating hosting and volunteer efforts with religious, business and government groups that were getting ready for the 2002 Winter Olympics. As chairwoman of the Interfaith Roundtable, Janette Beckham took on the task of getting the ministers from various faiths to agree on a mission statement. After a year they came up with this statement:

"As representatives of the faith community of Utah we will work together to welcome and serve athletes and visitors to the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games as a celebration of diversity of religious experience."

The statement "represents how a diverse community can come together and unite in a good cause," she said.


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