Paul C. Beckstrom passed away April 20, 2013, at North Valley Hospital in Whitefish after an extended battle with pneumonia.
He was born Dec. 17, 1932, in Tucson, Ariz., to Wilmer and Grace Beckstrom. At the time of his birth, they were living in Bowie, Ariz. They lived in Douglas, Bisbee (twice), Wilcox, Yuma and Tucson.
In January 1937, his father was transferred to Havre, Mont., then to Sweetgrass, Fort Missoula and finally to Eureka, where Paul graduated from high school in 1951.
Paul then entered the University of Montana as a journalism major, and then changed to unlisted major. While in college, he worked in the kitchen of the Chimney Corners Café next to the campus and for the Carpenter Paper Company. He was also active in square dancing in The Royaleers, where he met Delores Eileen Howard. They were married Sept. 19, 1959, in Missoula. He was employed by Carpenter Paper from 1955 to 1964, during which they lived in Yakima, Wash., Wenatchee, Billings and Kalispell .
He was then employed at Columbia Falls Lumber until early 1966. He then was employed at the Anaconda Aluminum Plant until his retirement Jan. 1, 1995. In June 1965, the family moved to Columbia Falls, where he lived until his death. He was a part-time gunsmith until his retirement, when he and his wife became too busy enjoying travel for him to continue.
Paul shot his first firearm — a BB cap .22 rifle – during the summer of 1937, igniting a life-long passion for all things related to the sport. During his life, he was active in many shooting clubs and other firearm related activities, including being an instructor for the Junior Rifle Club, a hunter safety instructor, chairman of the Kalispell Gun show, and avid gun and ammunition collector. He passed his love for shooting and firearms on to his wife, children, other family members and many friends.
Paul studied many reference books and was always eager to pass along his knowledge. He also enjoyed horse riding in his youth, spending time with his family and friends, reading many genres of books, and camping, fishing and being in the outdoors his entire life.
Paul was preceded in death by his parents and wife.
He is survived by his younger brothers David and John, and his children James and Kathryn. He is also survived by nieces, nephews, and grandnieces and nephews.
The family wishes to extend a note of gratitude to the staff of the Nite Owl Restaurant for giving Paul such hospitality after his wife’s death.
The memorial service is May 4, 2013, at 11 a.m. at the Columbia Mortuary in Columbia Falls, followed by a reception from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Back Room of the Nite Owl Restaurant.
Cremation has already taken place. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation in Paul’s name to a charity such as The American Cancer Society, The American Lung Association, NWMACA, the American Diabetes Association, the North Valley Sportsman Club, the Les Bauska Shooting Range, or the NRA.