Jeffrey Drew Beckwith, MD, of Springfield, died on April 1, 2021. He was born in Seattle, Wash. on April 24, 1945, into a working-class family. His father was a printer by trade, whose work took the family to New York, Illinois and Indiana, by the time Jeff was 15.
He remembered as a child being able to walk the neighborhood streets, pick berries, ride bikes with his older brother David, play pickup basketball at the corner lot, and even to walk home from school for lunch. He didn’t have a television until he was 12, but watched Flash Gordon on Saturdays, thanks to a friendly neighbor.
He said school was always easy for him because he liked to read. It didn’t hurt that he was so smart. At Carleton College he majored in biology, and minored in English literature, and went on to medical school at Northwestern University, enjoying all of it, but drifting into family practice. He married his first wife while at Northwestern. They later divorced. At Kalamazoo, Mich., he interned in family practice, then residency at University of Colorado, Denver, followed by two years in the National Health Service Corp. in Superior, Mont.
He moved to Eugene-Springfield in June, 1976, and started his practice, and a family with new wife, Jane, his stepson Aaron, and soon, son Drew. After raising the boys, they divorced. He said he worked too hard, too much, for too long and it took a toll on family life.
In early 1998, he met his wife, Nancy, at a ballroom dance class at the University of Oregon, and their first date was at Mac Court, for a men’s basketball game. They married the following year. He was a huge Ducks fan, and with Nancy, a UO alum, enjoyed attending basketball and football games regularly for many years.
Jeff was a lifelong learner, full of curiosity, who enjoyed reading, writing poetry, thinking, talking about things, and sharing ideas. He had a goal of learning something new every day, and he listened to everyone, knowing it could come from the most unexpected source. He was respectful to all and had a motto of “Do the Right Thing” in life as well as in his medical practice.
He didn’t speak unless he’d thought it through, and it was always worthwhile listening to him. Jeff loved a joke and humor was an important part of his everyday life.
Jeff loved being a doctor and always strove to give his patients “their money’s worth.” They could always count on him. Jeff was very proud of the work he did in the nineties to help develop a plan to improve healthcare for Medicaid patients. He was an excellent physician, very highly respected and made many other contributions to the medical community, too numerous to mention here. Jeff also did work as a hospice doctor for a number of years, serving as Medical Director at Cascade Hospice. He continued his practice at Springfield Family Physicians until three weeks before his death.
He loved art, live music, live performances such as plays, opera and ballet, and regularly attended Hult Center events and various festivals in Oregon. He loved to garden, and grew amazing dahlias, tomatoes, berries, and many veggies. His and Nancy’s garden was featured in the Register-Guard’s Home and Garden Monthly in September 2010. He was an outdoorsman, and loved hiking, biking and walking, and walked every day until he was too ill to continue. He loved the outdoors, and, weather permitting, could often be found with family and friends in local courtyard eateries, sharing a local brew.
Jeff had many loyal friends, inside and outside his profession, and he regularly attended two men’s groups for more than 30 years. Naturally shy, he pushed himself outside of his comfort zone in order to expand, even joining Toastmasters to challenge himself with public speaking.
In 2015 he and Nancy bought a place out in the country in Sisters, Ore., and enjoyed the outdoor life there.
He loved regular travel with Nancy, and enjoyed many trips to Europe and other places, exploring the food, culture, and country of other peoples, but just as much, he loved sitting on the porch with his wife, watching the birds at breakfast, or the sunset with a glass of wine.
He was a good man, honest, respectful, and kind, who loved his family, and whose family loves him. He is one of the best people anyone who ever knew him has found. He faced death pragmatically, without complaint, and with much strength and grace. We all miss him so much, and always will.
Jeff battled stage four pancreatic cancer for more than 13 months. He was a warrior to the end.
He leaves behind his wife, Nancy; his brother David; stepson Aaron Sullivan; son Drew (wife, Melissa, daughter Macy, son Miles); and stepsons Jeff Flanagan, Dan Flanagan, and Tim Flanagan (daughter, Owslyn). A private memorial service will be held later. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to deschuteslandtrust.org