Condolence: I am very sorry for your, and our, loss. I posted this to the Mensa 76 E-mail forum just now:
Pat was actually the founder of Mensa 76. As most of you know, Mensa was built in England after two strangers met on a train in 1946. It came to America in New York City in 1960. Sometime around 1962, Patrick Henry Beckham became its first member west of the Mississippi. (Imagine the New Yorkers' surprise that someone from Flyover Country qualified.) They offered him the LocSec position for most of the West, but he told them it was too much to handle and suggested that he form a chapter for Fort Worth-Dallas, to be called Mensa 76. They agreed, and he put his immense personal charm and vast library of contacts to work building the chapter.
Around 1976, he and others saw that the chapter's population had grown to the point of being unworkable, and agreement was reached that the kingdom would be divided along the Tarrant/Dallas County line, with the people living closest to the line being offered the option of joining either of the resulting chapters. He insisted that the Fort Worth bunch would keep the name, which is why we have it today.
By the time I joined in late 1979, he had mostly become a "mailbox member" because of the ever-expanding duties of his day job. In 1962, he had joined an outdoor advertising firm in Fort Worth that went through a series of nine name changes before he retired from it in 2005, when it was doing business under its current name, Clear Channel Outdoor. At various times he was CEO, president and board chairman, sometimes simultaneously. He was justifiably proud of the fact that during all of those buyouts, he had never missed a paycheck or had to look elsewhere for work.
Our paths might not have crossed but for the magic of E-mail. In 2003, he wrote to commend me for a column I had written for the Mensa 76 newsletter. I wrote back to tell him how honored I was, and I wound up on his list and began receiving jokes and mood-brighteners in the mail almost daily, along with a vast quantity of his other friends who, in many cases, had little in common besides his friendship. I found this out the hard way one time when I responded to one of his posts and accidentally hit the "Reply All" button. I got excoriated by people whom I had never heard of before. It's funny how the contents of a single E-mail can reveal so much more about a person than a old-fashioned face-to-face meeting or an actual conversation.
I maintained a massive file of his correspondence on the hard drive of my previous computer. I guess I somehow thought that it, and he, would last forever. Alas, neither hard drives nor good friends are immortal. My own memory is not, as well, but as long as I have it, I can still think of him and have a reason to smile.