Malachy D. Beckham, Jr.
Born November 16, 1942 to Malachy Beckham Sr. and Rosemary Beckham in Gary Indiana, Malachy “Mal” Beckham passed away on June 26, 2019.
Mal was a lifelong pilot, mechanic and flight instructor. He amassed over 13,000 hours of pilot in command time and an additional 8,100 hours of instructional time during his career which began in 1962 at age 19. Mal began flying in a Piper J-3 Cub and went on to log flying time in 34 different aircraft types including private jets. He held operating licenses and certifications for single engine, multi engine, turbo prop and jet engines. He was also a certified ground instructor, flight instructor and commercial pilot.
Mal served in the U.S. Army where he worked as a Pershing Missile Specialist at Fort Still, Oklahoma. He took great pride in being able to wear his Army uniform on special occasions as recently as last year.
An avid workout and health enthusiast, Mal swam, biked, jogged, hiked and lifted weights right up to his death.
Mal’s enthusiasm for flying was passed to his many students over his 30 year career as a flight instructor in Florida and North Carolina. Mal instructed over 100 students in his career, many which became professional pilots. His attention to detail and knowledge of the rules of flight operations was a pride point recalled by his students.
Mal was a member of the Western NC Pilot’s Association and generously contributed annually to the WNCPA Education Fund with the following statement: “God has greatly blessed me, and by providing these scholarships I intend to thank and honor Him. The Trustee shall notify each scholarship recipient that his or her gift was inspired by God.”
Friends of Mal are saddened by Mal’s unexpected passing. His absence will be felt in the WNC aviation community as well as in his community of faith at Biltmore Church and Hendersonville Seventh Day Adventist church. His friends are confident that Mal’s faith was sincere and that he now rests in the glory of Heaven where his wings are permanent and his soul now soars.
Mal is survived by his sister, Rosemary Ofsaiof of Northbrook IL and a son, David Beckham of Asheville, NC.
A memorial service will be held at the hangar located at 184 Lower Brush Creek Road, Fletcher, NC from 6:00-8:00pm on Saturday, July 13th. Arrangements are being provided by Groce Funeral Home Long Shoals.
Please send memorial contributions to Camp Cedarcliff Endowment Fund c/o The Western NC Community Foundation or the Western NC Pilots Association Education Fund c/o WNCPA, 21 Aviation Way Fletcher, NC 28732.