The Honourable Thomas A. Beckett, born in Windsor, is a member of an old, respected Hamilton family. He was called to the Bar in Alberta after graduating with an Honours LL.B. from the University of Toronto in 1950. In 1952 he returned to Hamilton to general practice and was appointed Queens Counsel in 1974. In 1984, he was appointed to the District Court of Ontario and assigned to the Unified Family Court. He was appointed to the Superior Court of Justice in 1990. Throughout his years as a lawyer and as a judge, he developed a reputation for integrity and fair-mindedness, and a deep social conscience.
During his professional years, he actively served his community as Deputy Reeve of Ancaster, on Wentworth County Council, as candidate for Parliament and the Legislature, and as a president of the Social Planning Council of Hamilton, as well as holding memberships and directorships in other community organizations.
In 1958, he was instrumental in founding the Spencer Creek Conservation Authority and in 1966, its successor, the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority. He served as its first Chairman until 1971. Most of the areas' major conservation projects were undertaken during his term, most notably the Dundas Valley Conservation Area. He is a past president of the Institute of Ecology, Washington, DC, an honourary life member of the Wildlands League, a former director of the Conservation Council of Ontario, and a recipient of the Niagara Green Space Award. In October 1998, the Conservation Foundation of Hamilton honoured him by creating the Thomas A. Beckett Forest in the Dundas Valley.