Baylor University Mourns Passing of General Counsel Charles Beckenhauer

July 7, 2016
Charles BeckenhauerCharles Beckenhauer, Baylor's general counsel and chief legal officer and corporate secretary

Longtime employee praised as “a rock of steadiness”

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Contact: Terry Goodrich,(254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (July 7, 2016) — Charles D. Beckenhauer, general counsel and chief legal officer and corporate secretary of Baylor University, passed away Tuesday, July 5, at his home after a lengthy illness.

Baylor University Interim President David Garland, Ph.D., lauded Beckenhauer for his loyalty, insight and kindness.

“I have served on the president’s Executive Council twice and had the privilege of knowing Charlie as a rock of steadiness and wise counsel,” Garland said. “During his illness, he faithfully continued to do his job, exhibiting incredible courage. He will be sorely missed, not only as a wonderful general counsel but as a kind friend.”

Services will be at 10 a.m. Friday, July 15, at Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home, 6101 Bosque Blvd. in Waco. Burial with military honors will be at 2:30 pm Friday, July 15, in Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, 2000 Mountain Creek Parkway in Dallas.

During his 23-year career at Baylor, Beckenhauer, a Waco resident, served as assistant general counsel and associate general counsel, concentrating on employment matters involving immigration law, affirmative action and employment discrimination, labor standards, Title IX compliance, litigation support and oversight, construction contracts and disputes, and study-abroad programs. He also served as an instructor in employment relations at Baylor Law School and as an adjunct professor.

“Charlie was the consummate colleague and counselor,” said Reagan Ramsower, Ph.D., senior vice president and chief operating officer at Baylor.

“He was the glue that held the Executive Council together through change and growth, and his wisdom spoke into all the matters undertaken by the university’s leadership. He was like my brother. I will dearly miss him.”

Before joining the general counsel’s office in May 1993, Beckenhauer served as deputy director of legislative and legal policy within the Office of the Secretary of Defense. While in that post, he worked on legislative, legal and policy matters relating to civilian and military personnel during the presidential administrations of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Beckenhauer served for 22 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a colonel. He served as a meteorologist and judge advocate general, specializing in labor and employment litigation in matters involving non-military employees. His cases involved union representation, unfair labor practices, grievance arbitration, labor standards, discipline cases and employment discrimination throughout the nation. He handled approximately 200 cases and ultimately supervised 11 attorneys with more than 300 employment cases in federal courts pending at any one time. He also spent an additional six years as a criminal prosecutor or supervising prosecutor, disposing of about 300 cases per year with about 30 going to jury trial per year.

A native of Manhattan, Kansas, Beckenhauer earned his bachelor's degree magna cum laude from Kansas State University in 1971 and his law degree with honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 1979. He also earned a master of laws degree in labor and employment law with highest honors from George Washington University in 1983.

Survivors include his wife, Jaylie Beckenhauer; his daughter, Chandler Kurth, and her husband, Jon Kurth; two grandsons, Benjamin Charles Kurth and Logan James Kurth; and two brothers and two sisters and their children. His great-nephew, Jeremy Vitt, is the assistant director of facilities and operations in the athletic department.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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