The Rev. Walter Harrison Beste, SSC
January 24, 1917 – October 13, 2005
Fr. Beste was born Jan. 24, 1917, in St. Louis, Mo. He graduated from The University of the South in 1939 and The Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 1942. Following his ordination to the Episcopal priesthood in the Diocese of California, he served first as vicar at Grace Church in Martinez, Calif., and St. David’s in Pittsburg, Calif., and then as curate at the Church of the Advent in San Francisco. When a need arose for Anglican clergy to minister in the Bahamas during World War II, he responded, serving in the Diocese of Nassau until 1949. In the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, he joined the clergy staff at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, where he continued for four years. Following that he was appointed Priest-in-Charge of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, where he continued as Rector for 20 years. Moving to Breckenridge, at the western edge of the diocese, in 1972, he became Rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. There he met and married rancher Katherine Jane Rhodes in 1977. That same year he was called as Rector for the Church of the Holy Apostles in Fort Worth, where he served until his retirement in 1982. Fr. Beste then served briefly at St. Peter by the Lake in Graford. In the years that followed he was named Priest-Emeritus of St. Luke’s, Mineral Wells, and Rector Emeritus of Holy Apostles. The Bestes traveled widely during his long retirement, visiting destinations in Asia, the South Pacific, and elsewhere.
Fr. Beste is remembered as a pastor and mentor to many younger priests. He had a quick sense of humor and was a prolific correspondent who never abandoned his typewriter. His hobbies included gardening and model railroading. His love of beauty was expressed in an appreciation for religious vestments and artifacts, and many North Texas churches are indebted to him for furnishings he collected or commissioned. The carved Italian crucifix in St. Leo’s Chapel at the Diocesan Center for Ministry was among his gifts. In May 2003 Fr. Beste celebrated the 60th anniversary of his ordination and designated the offering taken up at the service to be directed toward seminarian education.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Jane Rhodes Beste, of Fort Worth; three step-children and their spouses: Carol Brooks Reagan and John H. Reagan of Austin, Joseph D. Brooks and Lisa Jan Brooks of Palo Pinto, and John R. Cook and Suzan B. Cook of Breckenridge; grandchildren Audrey Dalas Bines, Aimee Cook Lubin, William Knox Carey, Katherine Brooke Deppe, and Amber Michelle Newcomb; and five great-grandchildren; and by two nieces, Linda Beste Hall and Carol Beste Sahrmann, both of Missouri, and their families.