David “Dave” Beukelman, 79, of Lincoln, emeritus professor of special education and communication disorders, died Feb. 5.
Beukelman was born to Cora and Verne Beukelman of Harrison, South Dakota, on Jan. 13, 1943. He attended a one-room country school and graduated from Corsica High School.
He attended Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, before transferring and graduating from Western Michigan University with a degree in speech language pathology. Beukelman earned masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Before joining the faculty at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 1985, Beukelman worked at Minnesota State University (Mankato) and took a position as director of communication disorders at the University of Washington Hospital.
He served 29 years with the University of Nebraska system, working both at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders and at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Beukelman was also a clinical research collaborator at Lincoln’s Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital from 1985 to 2000.
He retired from the university in spring 2014 after 29 years of service.
Throughout his career, Beukelman specialized in providing services to people with neurological conditions that interfered with their ability to communicate effectively. He was a global leader in the field of augmentative and alternative communication, designing communication materials and devices for children and adults who could not speak.
He also taught in the area of motor speech disorders and cleft palate. His research also focused on dysarthia and oral cancer.
In 1964, he married Helen DeWaard, and they had three children: Julie (Jim) Johnson of Pella, Iowa; Jeff (Cynthia) Beukelman of Lincoln; and Jonathan (Jami) Beukelman of Denver. He had nine grandchildren, Brannon, Seth, Cecily Johnson, Sierra, Drew, McKinley Beukelman, Luke, Graham, Audrey Beukelman; and two great grandchildren, Merrick and Marlowe Johnson.
Beukelman was an intellect with a humble heart bent toward serving others. He loved Lincoln, the Huskers, his church, volunteering at the Lied Center, and giving big hugs to his grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Verne and Cora Beukelman, and his father and mother-in-law, Corstiaan and Katherine DeWaard, and his brother Roy Beukelman.
A celebration of life is 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 11 at Roper and Sons’ Midtown Chapel, 4300 O St. A memorial service is 11:30 a.m. Feb. 12 at Hope Community Church, 4700 S. Folsom St. Services will be livestreamed. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be directed to the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, Assistive Technology Center, and Hope Community Church. Condolences can be left online with the family obituary.