Elias Hyrum Beckstrand 1870-1956

Elias Hyrum

The faculty of the University of Utah are proud to have numbered in their group, Elias Hyrum Beckstrand, who died 14 February 1956 in Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California, at the age of 85.

Professor Beckstrand was a farm boy from the small rural community of Meadow, Millard County, Utah, where he was born 11 March 1870. The resourcefulness and independence of spirit which he developed in his early years on the farm were outstanding traits of character of this noble scholar and teacher throughout his life.

His yearning for education was very great. He attended Brigham Young University for two years beginning in 1895 and then went to the University of Michigan to study engineering where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1900. The following year was spent at Cornell University where, in 1901, he obtained his Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering. In the fall of that year, "Scholar" Beckstrand came to the University of Utah as an instructor in electrical engineering to begin his life's work as a teacher. He became a professor and head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah in 1907, holding those positions until he retired on 1 July 1941, at the age of 71.

He was a thorough, exacting, highly successful and highly respected teacher. In his later years, he was rewarded for his thoroughness of scholarship by becoming a consultant to numerous school boards of heating and ventilating problems and a testing engineer of materials used in various construction projects for Salt Lake City and Ogden, the State Roads Commission, and the American Smelting and Refining Company. He spearheaded a drive for the erection of an engineering hall on the University Campus.

Professor Beckstrand was always a scholar and a gentleman. He was a devoted husband to his dear wife, Agnes Dahlquist Beckstrand, and although a heart affliction enfeebled his body in his later years and illness befell his wife, he kept her near him as long as he lived.

Over the years this couple invited many faculty members, young and old, to their home on frequent occasions for social relaxation and educational discussions. The enjoyment of these fine occasions will long be remembered .

Professor Beckstrand has been a wonderful father to his son, Gail, at whose home in Long Beach, California, he resided during the last years of his life.

[Elias Hyrum was the oldest son of Elias August and Henrietta Cecilia Alhquist Beckstrand. He married Agnes Josephine Dahlquist on 21 July 1908, in the Salt Lake Temple.]

Histories Compiled and Edited by Sue Anne Beckstrand Thompson
Our Beckstrand Heritage: Christina Beckstrand Pehrsson, Karl Johan Beckstrand, Elias August Beckstrand and their families
(Logan, Ut., self published, 2003)