The Life of John Beckwith Dale

John Beckwith Dale of Alexandria, Virginia, passed away peacefully at home on July 25, 2023, after facing and fighting leukemia. John was born in Big Spring, Texas, but grew up on his family farm in Buchanan, Michigan, tending to his farm animals and property, participating in 4-H events with his beloved horse, Amigo, scouring his farm land in search of arrow heads, and beginning his school years in a one room school house. John graduated from Buchanan High School, Grand Valley State University, and Chicago-Kent School of Law. He began his legal career as an assistant prosecutor in Lake County, MI, and then worked as a lawyer for the Department of Veterans Affairs and later the Department of Defense – Navy - in addition to several years in the private sector. John tackled many different and challenging jobs, but a particular highlight of his career was working on legal issues surrounding the production of the movie Pearl Harbor.


John had many interests and talents. He knew and loved airplanes from a very early age. He could identify an airplane in any setting without hesitation whether in the sky, on the tarmac, in a movie, or wherever. John got his pilot’s license and instrument rating while a member of the Quantico Flying Club. He treasured flying his Cessna 172 to different airports to meet his flying buddies for breakfast or lunch and especially enjoyed their Oshkosh excursions. John enjoyed traveling to and exploring Europe, but France was his passion. John spoke fluent French thanks to his classes at Alliance Française and his lunch study group sessions at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square, where he would later marry Caryl and say his vows in French. He could strike up a conversation in French with anyone at any time. He particularly loved his little village of Bargemon and the special friendships he made there. John also found immense joy in the creative world, especially watercolor, music, and photography. John was a dedicated member of The Art League (TAL) in Alexandria for many years. He studied watercolor at TAL, volunteered in TAL gallery, became a Gallery 75 member, and served on the TAL Board. John loved his watercolor classes and being involved with TAL to ensure its continued success as a timeless piece of history and creativity. John “rocked” as the lead guitarist of a rock band in the late 60’s and regrouped with the band on his retirement in 2010. John loved to cook and eat - anything! He would peruse his cookbooks and cooking magazines to find new and interesting menus and flavors. Dining out was a favorite pastime of John’s not just for the prepared meals but because of the friendships he developed with many of the restaurant owners and staff. For John, dining out meant having a meal with friends. Most of all, John absolutely adored his “golden (retriever) girls.” As far as John was concerned, they ruled!

John is survived by his wife, Caryl; his sister, Nancy Sparks; and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews. Burial to be private at Ivy Hill Cemetery. Arrangements by Demaine Funeral Home. A remembrance to be held at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to The Art League, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria, VA 22314.

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