Music publisher Robert Joseph “Bob” Beckham, died Monday, Nov. 11 at Summit Hospital in Hermitage. He was 86.
Music was his life and songwriters his best friends, from his early years as a child star in the movies through a very successful recording career which he walked away from to be closer to his family. Music dominated everything he did. As a music publisher he nurtured many great songwriters. At Lowery Music they included Ray Stevens, Jerry Reed, and Joe South among others…at Raleigh Music he introduced the world to Ben Peters and finally at Combine Music, a struggling company when he joined it. He turned it into one of the most important factors in Nashville’s becoming Music City. Where would it be without the songs of Kris Kristofferson, Dennis Linde, Larry Gatlin, Dolly Parton, Bob Morrison, Johnny McCrae, Debbie Mupp, Billy Swan, John Scott Sherril, Bob DePiero, Chris Gantry, Alan Rush, Martha Sharp, Time Kreckel, Lee Clayton, Mark Germino, Johnny Wilson, Gene Dobbins, Don Devaney, Bobby Russell, Buzz Cason, Mickey Clark, Steve Clark, Wanda Mallette, Patti Ryan, Tony Joe White, Mel McDaniel, Arthur Alexander, Steve Earle, and Mary Mary Francis.
After combine was sold, Beckham was asked by HoriPro, an international company, to establish a presence in Nashville. HoriPro became a successful presence almost immediately.
No matter where Beckham was, one of the secrets to his success was his open mindedness and a great ear when it came to new writers. No one was ever told that new songs were not being accepted. Beckham was low profile but a great song man, and he created an incredible atmosphere for the writers. The doors were always open. His personal office door was never closed. His friends included the movers and shakers who frequently sought him out. His contributions were always in the background as he never sought the spotlight. He’d had enough of that in the movies and on the stage. Other than music, his deepest conversations were always about his family. They were the core and the reason for everything he did. He was first, last, and always, a family man.
He is survived by wife of 66 years, Shirley Beckham; children: Pamela Beckham Linde, Debbie (James) Beckham Hall, Mike (Cindy Beckham) Devault, and Gay (Steve) Beckham Stought; sisters: Lorraine Clark and Karen Stuart; grandchildren: Lisa, Will, and Katie Linde, Megan Bare and Justin Hall, Jesse and Tyler Lawson, and Riley and Eli Stought; and great-grandchildren: Jack and Mary Marsden, Bella and Beckham Bare, Wren, Wiley, and Maizie Linde, and Lindie Brown. Special thanks to our brother John Dorris for loving our daddy. He is preceded in death by parents Lovenia Shaw and Bill Beckham and son-in-law Dennis Linde.
The family will be receiving friends at Sellars Funeral Home at Mt. Juliet from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, followed by the graveside service. Graveside Services are 3 p.m. at Mt. Juliet Memorial Gardens. Memorial Donations: Alive Hospice. Sellars Funeral Home at Mt. Juliet, Mt. Juliet TN, (615)444-9393. Obits (615)758-8818.