Elizabeth Shimer Czech Beckerman, 94, formerly of Bethlehem, PA, died Saturday in Pittsboro, North Carolina at her home at The Arbor at Galloway Ridge. Born in Bethlehem, she was the daughter of the late William Robert Shimer and Grace F. (Penner) Shimer. She was married to Valentine A. Czech (deceased 1974) and Dr. George E. Beckerman (deceased 1995), with whom she had two stepsons, Ronald and Michael.
Dr. “Betty” Beckerman was predeceased by her brother W. Robert Shimer, Jr. of Medford, NJ (1999), her nephew Andrew Laros Shimer, and her stepson Michael Beckerman. She is survived by her sister Margaret Shimer MacDowell of New Paltz, NY, her cousins William Daniels, PhD of Wilmington, DE and Nancy Weitzel Greeley of Fresno, CA, her stepson Ronald Beckerman of Los Angeles, CA, and 10 beloved nieces and nephews: Rebecca Horner, Jennifer Horner, PhD, JD, Judson S. Horner, Mitchell R. Horner, Robert Shimer, Porter Shimer, Gretchen Shimer Lea, Sonia Shimer Lohmeyer, Judith Shimer Stringfield, MD, and Edward Shimer, and her dear friend Kebra Hailemicael of Chapel Hill, NC. Dr. Beckerman was a devout member of the St. Thomas More Catholic Church, Chapel Hill.
Dr. Beckerman graduated from Liberty High School (Bethlehem, PA), and later received a bachelor of arts in music education from Georgian Court College (Lakewood, NJ). After teaching music and glee club at Georgian Court, she entered commercial broadcasting (1946-1954) as a harpist and singer, as well as a talk show hostess at station WGPA in Bethlehem. In 1954, she received a master of arts in guidance and counseling at Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA), then taught broadcasting at Centenary College for Women in Hackettstown, NJ, where she built and operated station WNTI until 1966. After earning a Ph.D. in communications from Ohio State University (1968), she was employed by Shaw University (Raleigh, NC) to build and supervise the Radio-Television Department as well as radio station WSHA-FM (the third black educational radio station in the country) until 1972. She served as an associate professor of communications at the University of Kansas in Lawrence (1972-1975) before accepting a faculty position at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1975-1983). At UNC-CH, she was the first woman to hold the position of Assistant Dean of Arts and Sciences; she received the Tanner Teaching Award for distinguished undergraduate teaching in 1983 just prior to retirement. She was a frequent speaker at national broadcasting conventions, served on many boards, including the Broadcast Education Council of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters, and was president of the North Carolina Chapter of Women in Communications (1981-1983).
Memorial gifts may be given to St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 940 Carmichael Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, or Charles House, 109 Hillcrest Street, Carrboro, NC 27510.
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