Melvin Beckett, a Macon boy to the core

Melvin Beckett, 1935 Macon High School

Melvin Beckett, 1935 Macon High School

An Illinois boy through and through. This 1935 graduate of Macon High School in Macon, Illinois was a veteran like his classmate. He served his country for 5 years beginning in 1941. But at the time of this photo, Melvin was 18 years old, born on June 23, 1916. He lived with his parents (Alvin Ray and Icephenia Grupp Beckett) in Macon, Macon county, Illinois. He was the oldest child, with 2 younger sisters and 3 younger brothers.

The whole family was born in Illinois, including his parents. His father, Alvin, worked as a farm laborer and a Railroad carpenter. Melvin distinguished himself in Macon through the Post Office, serving ultimately at Post Master. Thanks to his obituary we know he married in 1947 and had children and grandchildren to surround him.

Melvin died in November of 2004 in Macon and is buried there as well. More surprisingly his mother, Icephenia Beckett, was born in 1894 and died in 1995. She lived to be 100 years old! Her obituary states that she married in 1915 at about age 20 and was preceded in death by her husband in 1975. What amazing changes she must have seen in her life! I wish I had a photo of her to go along with Melvin.

William Chynoweth, if only ALL the obituaries were this helpful!

William Chynoweth, one of the 10 in the 1935 class of Macon High School in Macon, Illinois. From his obituary in 2006:

William was born Oct. 2, 1917, in Macon, the son of Ray and Irene Chynoweth. He received his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1940 from the University of Missouri. Bill was a member of the Army Air Corps serving the Pacific Theater in World War II as squadron flight engineer to the 879th Bomb Wing. During his service, he was awarded the Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart. Bill attended the University of Illinois where he received his master of science in electrical engineering. After receiving his degree, he lived in Chicago, where he met Ruth Oakes of Summit, N.J. They soon married and, in their 52 years together, raised four children. During his career as an electrical engineer, he was instrumental in developing new technology for General Electric and Honeywell and was directly responsible for three patents. His sharp and inquisitive mind, his continual spirit of giving and his quiet, nurturing soul have been a help and inspiration to his family and friends. He was a resident of Good Samaritan Village and formerly lived in Fort Collins, Colo.

William R. Chynoweth, 1935 Macon High School, Illinois

William R. Chynoweth, 1935 Macon High School, Illinois

I was going to write a full article on William, but his obituary is so complete it seemed redundant! Such rich genealogy detail in an obituary. Here’s an interesting tidbit though: if it weren’t for the 1940 census stating where someone lived in 1935 (the year of this photo) I may not have found him at all! William and his family moved around a lot. Luckily the lived in Macon, Illinois in 1935, because by 1940 they were in Columbia, Boone, Missouri where his father Ray was a traveling Salesman. And travel he did.

William’s youngest sister Virginia was born in South Dakota in 1931, where the family was registered in the 1930 census as well. They has been in Macon before in 1920. Ray was born in Arkansas. And, as you can see from the obit, William eventually resided in Colorado.

I hope this photo makes it’s way to willing descendants.