|Birth: ||May 24, 1914|
|Death: ||Jul. 2, 2006|
Buried July 04, 2006.
Preceded by wife, Anna Michlin Beck. They married in October, 1945.
A.J. BECK, Decorated general had 'mind like a laser'
Retired Maj. Gen. A.J. Beck found a fitting career in the military, something that was evident whether he was flying a World War II combat mission or playing checkers with his daughter.
The Dallas native retired here, where he completed his work career with a stint as a Zale Corp. executive.
Gen. Beck, 92, died Sunday of natural causes at his North Dallas home.
Services were Tuesday in Dallas, and burial was in Hillcrest Memorial Park next to his wife, Anna Michlin Beck, who died in March.
"He had a mind like a laser," said his daughter Poppy Sundeen of Dallas. "All of his life, he was a brilliant man and a man who really wanted to be in control of his life and as much of his environment as he possibly could be."
Mrs. Sundeen said her father was logical and strategic, even when he played checkers with her as a child.
"He would always refer to the checkers pieces as ... your front line of defense," she said. "To him, everything was military and everything was strategy. He really had the perfect career."
Born in Dallas, Gen. Beck was the youngest of seven children and the son of Russian immigrants. He was 14 when his father, a shoemaker, died.
"His work ethic was remarkable," Mrs. Sundeen said. "There were seven kids, and they all pulled together to take care of their mother."
Gen. Beck worked from the time he was a little boy, his daughter said. He sold newspapers downtown and delivered meat.
He was a graduate of Forest Avenue High School, now James Madison High School. He worked his way through Southern Methodist University, where he earned a law degree in 1939.
Gen. Beck practiced law briefly before joining the Army Air Forces in 1941. A pilot at the time of his enlistment, he received a commission as a second lieutenant.
He served in the southwest Pacific during World War II, flying numerous types of aircraft on 133 combat missions. He shot down one enemy aircraft while piloting a P-38 Lightning.
Gen. Beck's decorations include the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross, an Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, an Army Commendation Medal and the British Military Cross.
Gen. Beck was out of the military for about a year before resuming his Air Force career in July 1947.
He served with the Strategic Air Command and was promoted to major general in 1963.
In 1966, Gen. Beck was assigned to Washington, D.C., where he served in a weapons evaluation group with other senior officers from other branches of the military.
He was a judge advocate and a Strategic Air Command inspector general. He also flew missions on the Looking Glass flying nuclear command center.
His last military assignment was as commander of the Warner Robins Air Materiel Area at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia.
After retiring from the Air Force in 1972, Gen. Beck was an executive vice president with Morris Paint Co. in Omaha, Neb., before returning to Dallas in 1974.
In Dallas, he was an executive with Zale Corp. He retired in 1980.
Gen. Beck served on the board of directors for the Golden Acres: Dallas Home for Jewish Aged and was a member of the Temple Emanu-El Brotherhood.
He also served as president of his North Dallas homeowners association. He was known in the neighborhood as a friendly man who helped people and their children but also enforced the rules, his daughter said.
At one time, a neighbor let his grass grow too tall.
"Daddy went over there with his flight jacket on and his Rottweiler along with him," Mrs. Sundeen said. "Not in a threatening way, but he knocked on the door and very politely said, 'You know you need to cut your grass and you need to do it today.'
"And it was cut," she said. "He was just really good at getting things done."
Gen. Beck's hobby was restoring classic automobiles. One of his favorites was a black 1947 Lincoln convertible.
"He was always tinkering with it," his daughter said. He made the replacement parts he couldn't buy. The Lincoln was sold in 1972 through an antique dealer to the Allman Brothers. His family didn't tell him who the buyers were, knowing he would worry whether the band members took proper care of his baby.
In addition to his daughter, Gen. Beck is survived by two other daughters, Stevie Beck of Minneapolis and Darcy Beck-Conley of Omaha, Neb.; a son, John Beck of Lincoln, Neb.; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Memorials may be made to the Golden Acres: Dallas Home for Jewish Aged, 2525 Centerville Road, Dallas, Texas 75228.
Dallas Morning News, The (TX) - Friday, July 7, 2006
Anna Gilaire Michlin Beck (1921 - 2006)
Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park
Plot: Mount Sinai Section
Maintained by: Helperkw
Originally Created by: DonZas
Record added: Jul 04, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14813732