Ted “Skipper” Becker, the founder and visionary behind Beacon Bible Camp, went home to be with the Lord this past Sunday. It is hard to believe that someone so important to the vision and creation of camp is no longer with us, and I have to admit that Beacon felt a little bit more empty when I walked to the camp office this morning.
When I got the news that Ted was not doing well, I was paddling in The Massasauga Provincial Park. It felt appropriate to be canoe tripping when I heard, because through Ted, Beacon introduced me to the love of the outdoors. (My parents, although amazing in many ways, are not exactly the outdoorsy type.) I and my family are grateful for this physical legacy that he has left.
On gratefulness; my first memory of Ted was as a young Junior Boy. I was eight years old, with my birthday still five months away, and it was my first time away from my parents for anything longer than a weekend. Skip must have sensed this nervousness in me, because he took me under his wing and became like a surrogate grandfather for the week of camp.
Knowing that I had just purchased my first-ever fishing rod, Skip offered to take me early morning fishing one morning. As far as I can recall, I didn’t catch a single thing, but what apparently stuck with me was his generosity in taking me out for a morning of learning. I must have said thank you to him a hundred times that week, so much so that I won the “Thankfulness Award” at the end of the camp session (which I’m pretty sure was a tongue-in-cheek award, but I’ll cherish it all the same).
I think this story captures so much of what all of us love in Ted Becker. He was deeply invested in young people. Many of us can say that we love kids or youth, and want to see them to grow in love and knowledge of the Lord. Ted, however, lived this out so very practically - many people felt his love specifically and carefully.
One of my final memories of Skipper happened a couple of summers ago at Senior Boys. Dash and I had visited Skip and his wife Barbara (“Scamper”) a few months before, and so it was a nice surprise to have them swing by camp during a summer session. The campers didn’t necessarily know Ted or Barbara, but they could tell from the reaction of the staff that someone special had walked into the Dining Hall. It was a beautiful sight to see many of the staff come over to shake hands with Ted and help him make the connection between how his ministry had led to them being at Beacon. This would give way to another staff person who had another story.
I hope that Skip understands how much of an impact he had not only on the first or second generation of Beacon campers, but now on a fourth and fifth generation, as the legacy of faithfulness is passed down to others. Those of us who had the privilege of knowing him also know that he was a humble, kind man who was deeply committed to seeing the gospel of the Lord Jesus proclaimed, and it is Beacon’s long-term mission and vision to see that commitment continue.
As much as it is hard to say goodbye, one of my initial thoughts was somewhat jealous: Skip is now with the Lord and he is healed of all pain and suffering. The first chapter of Philippians comes to mind: “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” I believe that Skip lived this out fully, and it has been encouraging to me to hear others speak of Ted’s faithfulness over the years, whether at Beacon, serving overseas, or in the every day faithfulness of loving his family and others. I know that I’ll one day get to see him again, in glory, and that there will be no tears, only joy, as we celebrate Christ our King.
So long, Skip, but see you soon. I can’t wait for that day.
If you would like to be present at the visitation or funeral, details are below: