Jeffrey Scott Beck

October 23, 1962April 7, 2012

Jeffrey Scott Beck, Ph.D, passed away on April 7, 2012, with his wife, his sister, his mother-in-law and close friends at his side. He was 49. It is with great sorrow that we mourn his unexpected and quite too early departure. Jeff was born on October 23, 1962 to Irwin and Leila Beck in Brooklyn, New York. He was a vibrant ball of fire with the dedication and intellect to make an ever lasting impact in our society. He earned his doctorate in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1989, true to his high school prediction. Jeff was a creative and prolific inventor, an inspirational leader, a devoted husband and friend, and a renowned scientist and engineer in his field. The loves of his life were his wife Lisa and sister Shari, game-changing innovation, art collection, and his dogs Pharaoh and Monty. Jeff’s professional career began at Mobil’s Central Research Laboratory, immediately following his Ph. D. Throughout his career, Jeff made outstanding contributions to the discovery and commercialization of novel catalysts and processes for the production of key petrochemicals and clean fuels. His colleagues describe Jeff as an inspirational visionary who had the uncanny ability to see where the puck was going to be. Technologies based on Jeff's innovative and practical inventions revolutionized the production of key petrochemicals, including para-xylene (used in the production of polyester fiber and PET plastics), and the production of clean fuels, via advanced catalysts and processes. Jeff was recognized for his excellence in catalysis and materials with numerous national and international awards, including the National Academy of Engineering (one of the highest professional distinctions accorded an engineer), the North American Catalysis Society’s Houdry Award (accorded to the most significant contributor to industrial catalysis), the American Chemical Society’s Heroes of Chemistry Award, and the International Zeolite Association’s Breck Award (accorded to the most significant advance in the field of micro-and meso-porous materials). He was author of nearly 75 US patents, published prolifically, and frequently delivered invited lectures at acclaimed universities and conferences worldwide. Jeff left an indelible mark not only in research, where he led ExxonMobil’s prestigious Corporate Strategic Research, but also in several assignments in the business, including Technical Manager at the Baytown Refinery, and Polyethylene Global Marketing Manager. Though taken from this world quite too soon, Jeff's loved ones can find comfort in knowing that he lived his life fully and the way he wanted. He demanded excellence, did not sit still for mediocrity, and inspired all who were fortunate enough to come to know him. Jeff found his happiest moments spending time with his beloved wife Lisa, and his dogs Pharaoh and Monty. His family, friends, and colleagues will remember him as a remarkable individual. He has taken in his early journey a part of each of us. We feel blessed to have had him with us. Jeff is survived by his wife Lisa, parents Irwin and Leila, sister Shari, and brother Richard. Please share sympathies, memories, and condolences online at In lieu of flowers, Lisa has requested that donations be made to Best Friends Animal Society,, or any other animal rescue organization.


  • Memorial Service Tuesday, April 10, 2012
  • Visitation and Reception Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Jeffrey Scott Beck

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Diane Tortorice

August 29, 2014

I am so sorry to hear of Jeff's passing. I just recently learned of it through our good friend Linda. We all knew Jeff or JB as we called him, at Binghamton. I looked through the pictures to see if there were any of him at that time in his life, but there were none. I remember him with long curly hair and a cut off jean vest, black shirt, and jeans. And most of all a smile on his face. And a twinkle in his eye. Always very sweet. I read all of his accolades and realize how brilliant he was! Such a bright light to be snuffed out at such a young age. Know that he was loved and appreciated by his college chums as well! Diane Tortorice

March 8, 2014

Jeff you will always be in our hearts . We miss you more as each day passes.You were a great husband to our daughter and a kind and caring son-in-law. Our lives will never be the same.

Uday Turaga

June 3, 2012

I first met Jeff in 2001 when I was a grad student completing an internship in his group. It did not take long for him to become a role model for me. More importantly, Jeff became a mentor to me and although we never worked together again he was always accessible, true to his word, and full of optimism and encouragement. I will miss Jeff and offer his family my sincere condolences.

Troy Campione

May 23, 2012

Wow. I am shocked and dismayed. And sad. I can't believe that I will never be able to talk to Jeff again. Jeff was fantastic in many ways, truly extraordinary, and a pleasure to work with (and joke with). It's hard not being able to say goodbye. RIP Jeff, I will miss you dearly.

Paul Fazen

May 8, 2012

Jeff took me under his wing when I first started working in the Sneddon labs at Penn. I was his evil henchman. Jeff taught me all of my lab technique, how to keep my lab notebook, what to read, and the things that were important to get through grad school.
Jeff was also my friend. I remember him telling me stories about New York, taking me to the Deli to get lunch, and just talking about everything. Jeff would keep me up on the department gossip. It was always fun to be around Jeff.
I will never forget those times.
I will miss him a greatly.

Aunt Bonnie LaBuda

May 7, 2012

Jeff was one of the kindest most humble and giving person I will ever meet in my life. He always tried to help people with any problems they encountered never asking or expecting anything in return. He will be greatly missed by myself and my family. Lisa is in my thoughts and prayers

April 21, 2012

Dearest Lisa, my heart aches for you. The loss of your love is so difficult to endure and yet through your grievance you do draw strength from the love and caring of family and dear friends. Please know that I am thinking of you and praying for you and your family. I also pray for your dear Jeff's soul to be lifted up. With love & sympathy Lorraine Fedroff

Lisa Beck

April 18, 2012

There are stars that burn brighter in the sky than others. Sometimes when they burn so brightly they burn out faster…that was my Jeff. He was the brightest star in my galaxy. Jeff was my best friend, my buddy, my other half. I love you and will miss you forever...

Rob Crane

April 17, 2012

I am forever changed for having known Jeff for the past twenty-two years. Jeff was the single most influential person in my career. When we first met, he was an energetic young scientist in Mobil's Central Research Lab making some of his earliest discoveries, which would spawn a whole new field of scientific research and lead to important new industrial processes. I was an undergraduate co-op student, and Jeff's enthusiasm for his research inspired me to go to graduate school. Through graduate school and throughout my career with Mobil and then ExxonMobil, Jeff was a mentor, confidant, and friend. His leadership was truly inspirational. I am a better person for having known him all these years. I cannot believe such a talented and tremendous person is no longer with us. I will never forget him. Much love to Lisa.

Elliot Scherr

April 16, 2012

When I told people at Binghamton that I was going to Penn for my PhD they told me to look for Jeff Beck. He wasn't tough to find! Someone said, "look for the guy wearing shorts in January." Sure enough, there he was, waiting in line to buy a cheese steak at a lunch truck holding a can of Coke. I introduced myself and began a friendship that will last forever. I was getting poor grades and Jeff pulled me aside told me how to study, told me what to study, told me where to study, and enabled me to succeed. His work ethic and organizational skills were unreal. I had never seen that kind of passion for science before.
Later on, when I was preparing for my first job interview he snuck me into the Mobil Tech Center so that I could practice my "job talk" in a real conference room while he asked questions and critiqued the presentation. It didn't come easy, but I got my first job at Colgate, where I met Lisa. So, in a way, he's responsible for his own marriage.
For me, it wasn't his knowledge and helpfulness that made us friends, it was his sense of humor and hearty laugh. We had numerous adventures together in the "City of Brotherly Love", too many to mention. We used to laugh so hard tears would be streaming down our faces. He was my friend and the older brother I never had, I love him and will miss him.