Meet the Beckwiths


A Legacy That Became a Heritage

Many in our community are familiar with Heritage Ministries, which has served Chautauqua County and its residents since 1886. What you may not be aware of are the stories and faces of Heritage; stories of giving, servant leadership, ministry, and love. These small pieces have been woven into the tapestry that has created Heritage today.

One such story that is woven into our Heritage is of Chuck and Hilda Beckwith. Chuck and Hilda were married in 1946, after he returned home from his military service to our country in World War II.

During his service as an anti-tank gunner, Chuck was awarded two bronze stars for his service. Receiving those bronze stars exemplifies the type of man Chuck was, filled with honor for his country, a man of strength, of faith, family and action. A man of action who followed through on his commitments and always was giving back more than he received.

When Chuck went off to war Hilda wrote him letters weekly. It was through those letters Chuck fell in love and decided Hilda was the girl just for him. When he returned on break he made sure to make his way directly to her to ask for her hand in marriage.

A few years after they were married, Chuck and Hilda were blessed with three children: Janet, Melanie and Martin. It was directly after the birth of Martin that Chuck received the call to come work the farm at Heritage. At that point, Heritage consisted of what was called an “Old Persons Home” or the OPH, The Children’s Home (an orphanage) and The Farm; which provided work and food to those living on the Heritage Gerry Campus.

When they came to “The Farm” on the Gerry campus Chuck and Hilda supported Heritage in every way possible through their gifts of service. For over 64 years Chuck and Hilda proved servant leadership was the key; by contributing in as many ways as possible.

They worked the farm, handled housekeeping, lead repairs around the campus, mentoring the children from the orphanage and ministering to the seniors. Following what they felt called to do all while raising their own children.

Building Heritage

What Chuck and Hilda could not have ever predicted as they answered the call is the impact and growth Heritage would experience in their 64 years on campus and the growth we pray for in the upcoming years. Heritage went from a vision and continued to grow into a thriving campus throughout Chautauqua County. Heritage today offers all levels of care ranging from Independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing care, dementia programs, and rehabilitation, to name a few.

Chuck and Hilda would be blessed to know that now over 600 residents are part of our Heritage family. There are so many stories of Chuck and Hilda throughout the years, but overall they all lead back to a few simple truths, the
first being Chuck and Hilda listened and followed the calling they felt. Chuck and Hilda represented our mission statement, “To serve others through Christcentered ministries, which promote hope, dignity and purposeful living.”

Years ago, I heard a powerful quote that came back to me when I spent time with Chuck and Hilda’s children: “Integrity is a powerful force, keeping you alive to others long after you’ve left their presence.”

Chuck and Hilda certainly displayed integrity. Their integrity and their legacy will be alive at Heritage Ministries for years to come.

Lisa M. Haglund

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