|Birth: ||Jul. 17, 1915|
|Death: ||Jan. 13, 2004|
Robert K. Beck, 88, publisher emeritus of the Daily Iowegian and a resounging voice in Iowa plolitical and industrial circles, died Tuesday, January 13, 2004, at Lucas County Hospital in Cariton, Iowa after a lengthy battle with Parkinson'Disease. Beck was born into the newspaper industry on July 17, 1915, the son of Jesse McFall and Edna Needham Beck, who had purchased the then semi-weekly Iowegian in 1903, But, he was also called early into civic services guiding his beloved hometown of Centerville, much of southern Iowa and northern Missouri, into the industrial age as well as favilitating tourism as an economic development tool as a pioneer member and president of the Rathbun Lake Association. A graduate of Centerville High School in 1933, Beck attended Iowa Wesleyan College, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1937.
It was also at Iowa Wesleyan that Beck met and on June 24, 1939, married Charlotte Virginia Allen. She too became a vital participant in Beck's civic and political drives. Although he grew up workiing at the Iowegian, it was after his granduation that Beck took on an ever increasingly heavy load at the paper. He remembered being paid $12 per week during the Depression but had earned raises to $30 per week by the time he and Charlotte married. When World War ll broke out, the college-enucated Beck was commissioned an ensign in the U.S.Navy where he served aboard the USS South Dakota for 27 months. His ship saw heavy action, including being buzzed by Kamikaze pilots during the Philppine invasion and being struck by a bomb during one battle. After the war, Beck returned to the Iowegian and became general manager at just 30 years of age after his father suffered a stroke and his uncle, John R. Needham, the newspaper's co-owner, died.
Beck acquired majority interest in the newspaper in 1950 and turned it into a state and natinal award winner. Under his guidance the Iowegian earned three Iowa General Excellence Awards, the Iowa Community Service Award in 1963 and 1983, as well as numerous state wide awards for both news, advertising, editorial excellence and industrial support. Beck was named an Iowa Master Editor-Publisher in 1963, was president of the Iowa Newspaper Association in 1969-70 and earned the Bent Cane Award from the Des Moines Press Club in 1959. Although the Iowegian was sold in 1983, Beck continued to write a weekly column until recent weeks. In addition to the Iowegian, Beck served as owner-officer of the Oceanside(California)Daily Blade-Tribune, the Glendora(California)Press, the Azusa(California)Herald and the Corydon Times-Republican. He was founder and president of KCOG Radio from 1949-1954 and chairman of the board of Centerville National Bank. Beck served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1953-55, was a member and then chaired the Iowa Highway Commission from 1955-59, served on the Iowa Development Commission from 1969-77, served on the Iowa Wesleyan College Board of Trustees from 1961-80. He lauched unsuccessful gubernatorial campaigns in 1966 and 1968 but remained a vital and important cog in the state's political process for decades. He was a past president of the Centerville Lions Club, the Chamber of Commerce, chaired the Industrial Commitee, was president of the St. Joseph Hospital lay advisory board, chaired the Community Chest fund drive, was a pioneer member and president of the Rathbun Lake Association, member of the Chariton Valley Improvement Association board, President of the Appanoose Country Club, superintendent of the Methodist Church Sunday School and served on numerous other committees and activities.
Two years ago, Governor Vilsack presented Beck with a special plaque from the Friends of Rathbun Lake for his decades of dedication to development of the lake and its impact on Appanoose, Wayne, Monroe and Lucas counties.
Hi is survived by is wife: Charlotte Allen Beck of Centerville; a son, Tom Beck and his wife, Deloris; and daughters, Barbara Beck Climie all of Centerville and Martha Beck Hoch and her husband, Dr. Douglas Hoch of Chariton; Seven grandchildren of whom he was so proud: Robert Beck, Kimberly Nelson, Jason Climie, Ryan Climie, Mathew Bryant, Jennifer Speibauer and Tiffany Hoch; 9 great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by: his parents; 2 brothers, Harold Beck and Paul Beck and sister, Marjorie Belle.
Jesse McFall Beck (1873 - 1965)
Edna Pauline Needham Beck (1876 - 1950)
Charlotte Virginia Allen Beck (1916 - 2005)*
Marjorie Belle Beck (1911 - 1911)**
Robert Knowlton Beck (1915 - 2004)
Created by: Donald Bitner
Record added: May 12, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 52312656