John Beckel, 96

June 05, 2024
John Beckel John Beckel

John Beckel, age 96, formerly of Austin, MN, passed away Wednesday, May 15, 2024.

John was born April 23, 1928, in Austin, MN, to John G. “Jack” and Stella (Thompson) Beckel.

He grew up in Austin, MN, and married Janis Farnsworth on January 7, 1950. They lived in Austin until 1971, when they moved to Baudette, MN, where they entered the resort business with his brother, Dwain, and sons.

During the resort years, he obtained his commercial pilot's license and would fly patrons across the lake to fish on the ice in the winter. In later years, he and his son, Tom, would open TJ Prop Shop, where he worked until he was in his 90s, pounding props and welding.

He was very instrumental in the promotion of snowmobiling in northern Minnesota with his work on connecting trails east and west through the creation of the John Beckel Northern Connection Trail. He was also very active in Ducks Unlimited and was the chairman of the local chapter for many years.

John was an avid sportsman and spent many happy hours hunting and fishing with family and friends. From hunting deer, ducks, grouse, and geese locally to moose in the wilds of Canada, elk in Wyoming, and even squirrels in Southern Minnesota, John loved it all. A particular favorite was goose hunting, and he made annual trips to Manitoba with his son, Tom, son-in-law, grandsons, and other family and friends to hunt geese. He loved to fish for walleyes, northerns, and muskies on Lake of the Woods, as well as salmon in Alaska and Marlin in the Caribbean Sea. He not only enjoyed trips with the boys but fished salmon and lake trout with his daughters, Sue, Deb, and Chris, on Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, as well as an exciting trip rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in 1993.

He is preceded in death by his wife, Janis, his parents, Jack and Stella Beckel, sister, Veronica Nelson, four brothers, Bud Beckel, Richard Beckel, Dwain Beckel, and David Beckel, and brother-in-law, James Steven Farnsworth.

He is survived by four children: Susan Sathre (Thomas Fielding) of Austin, MN; Debra Dsouza of Austin, MN; Christine (Russel) Hansen of Baudette, MN, and Thomas (Joyce) Beckel of Baudette, MN; and sister-in-law Anglia (James Steven) Farnsworth of Gwinn, MI.

He is also survived by nine grandchildren, Steven, Sarah, Jennifer, William, Michael, Marinda, Elaina, Katie, and Kevin, and nineteen great-grandchildren.

A celebration of life for John Beckel will take place at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Baudette on Monday, June 17, 2024, at 11 a.m., with a visitation an hour prior.