Ronald A. Beckwith (84) of Southampton passed away on December 11, 2021, at home after a short illness. Ronald was born in England, the son of William and Constance (Gladwell) Beckwith. He was retired from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where he worked for over 25 years as Greenhouse Manager for what are now the Morrill Grenhouses.
Beckwith worked as a foreman for Smith College until UMass Botany Department Head Otto Stein hired him in 1973 as the University's first full-time manager of the Clark and Morrill Greenhouses, structures which then offered 3500 square feet of glassed growing space. Known first as the Botany Greenhouses, they later became the Biology Greenhouses, and are now known as the Morrill Greenhouses.
Under Beckwith's watchful eye the University's plant collection grew to more than 225 families. Students and faculty donated many plants, including a collection of rare and endangered cacti and succulents.
These succulents can be seen today in the Durfee Conservatory greenhouses. Plants were also obtained to provide material for an expanding menu of courses in plant morphology, ecology, and geography.
He is survived by his wife Martha (Clark), daughter Caroline and son-in-law Kevin along with stepdaughters Kathe and Sue Connor. Ronald is also survived by his 7 grandchildren. Per his request, there will be no formal memorial services. Mitchell's Funeral Home has been entrusted with the arrangements.
In his memory, please plant a flower or tree in honor of his life.