Joseph Conrad Beck
May 11, 1928 – August 25, 2019
Joseph Conrad Beck, 1928-2019. It is with great sadness that the family of Joe Beck, 91, announces his sudden passing at his home in Little Rock on Sunday, August 25. Husband, father, brother, uncle and friend, Joe was born on May 11, 1928. He was proceeded in death by his wife Mary Janet Garbacz Beck; his son John Albert Beck; and his parents, Joseph Matthew and Margaret Beck. He is survived by his children: Mary Beck Clerget (Harry), Paula Beck Holmes (John), Dr. J. Thad Beck (Melanie), Janet Beck Cravens (Will); his siblings: Louis Beck, William Beck, John Edward Beck (Carolyn), and Margie Plunkett (Joe); and his ten grandchildren.
Joe graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in engineering and had a master’s degree in Rocket Science from Purdue University. A veteran of the Korean War, he piloted the B-29 bomber and was a member of the 52 Charlie Training Class. He retired from the U.S. Air Force as a full Colonel. He worked at both Union Camp and Southern Paper Box Company. His wife Janet was the love of his life and they were married for 57 years. He was devoted to his family and thrived on big family celebrations, most of which including toasting with champagne.
Joe was a man of faith and it guided his entire life. At 16, he fell into a coma from spinal meningitis and was not expected to recover. His mother made a novena to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes. Joe made a full recovery and the family adopted St Jude as their champion saint. Joe named his first son Joseph Thaddeus after St. Jude. He was President of the Serra Club, and he and his wife, Janet. were members of Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre. As an active member of the Christ the King Catholic Church, he attended mass daily. He enthusiastically volunteered for assignments no one else wanted, including the 1 a.m. adoration hour for the Blessed Sacrament, two nights a week.
He was a loyal friend and confidant, an incredible role model, and an eternal optimist. He had a beautiful active life. He loved adventure, travel and most of all flying--which he enjoyed well into his 80s. He and his three brothers were avid Notre Dame alumni, and all recently traveled to South Bend for his 70-year college reunion with their sister, Margie, and his daughter, Mary. Joe will be missed by all those who knew him.
A Rosary will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 29th at Christ the King Catholic Church in Little Rock, AR with a visitation following the Rosary. The Mass of Christian Burial celebrating Joe’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Friday August 30th at Christ the King Catholic Church with the burial, with full Military Honors, immediately following at Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock, AR. Funeral arrangements are being conducted by Griffin Leggett Healey & Roth, 5800 12th Street, Little Rock, AR. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Christ the King Catholic Church, 4000 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock, AR 72205-1601 or to the Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus, 1910 S Ashland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60608. To sign the online guestbook, click “Add A Memory” at: www.griffinleggetthealeyroth.com
- Rosary Service Thursday, August 29, 2019
- Visitation Thursday, August 29, 2019
- Mass of Christian Burial Friday, August 30, 2019
- Military Honors Committal Friday, August 30, 2019
Joseph Conrad Beck
August 31, 2019
We were Joe's neighbors for about 5 years...not nearly long enough. What a gentle, caring man! He would often appear at our door bearing gifts...peaches, pies, etc. And we all struggled with our sprinkler systems which ran off the same meter!
When my husband died, he brought over a cake and asked if he could have a mass said for him. I watched out for him, but I didn't want him to know it..
August 30, 2019
I had the privilege of working with this wonderful man for many years, and kept up with him through our friendship on Facebook. I’ll miss him being in this world but know he’s in a far better place.
August 28, 2019
Thad and Family : I saw your wonderful father at our annual Notre Dame Student Sendoff and Notre Dame Night on August 3rd. He looked fine. He always looked much younger than he was. He always attended our local Notre Dame functions and events. He and your mother were inseparable. When I served as the vice -president of the Notre Dame Club of Arkansas I knew that I could always count on Mr. & Mrs. Beck to attend and support the ND Club in any way that they could. They treated everyone with love and respect. They also attended many funerals to provide comfort and solace to grieving families. Your father loved his faith , his country and his family. He spoke proudly of his children's accomplishments. Mr. Beck fondly told me of Thad's great achievements as an oncologist and medical researcher since Thad and I are classmates from Little Rock Catholic High. Mr. Beck told us on the evening of August 3rd of meeting you by chance in foreign countries while you were doing cancer research or attending conferences. Mr. Beck was a devout Catholic who attended Mass at every opportunity. He served others without any credit or acknowledgment. Mr. Beck proudly served our country in the military as a bomber pilot rising to the rank of full Colonel. Mr. Beck truly lived an exemplary Catholic life. We shared our love for the University of Notre Dame. I will light a candle for Mr. & Mrs. Beck and John when I attend the Southern Cal game in October. I was so happy that he attended the reunion anniversary trip to Notre Dame with his brothers. Mr. & Mrs. Beck were devoted to John. John would attend our ND Club events. Mr. Beck would bring John to Catholic High sporting events especially football and basketball games. Mr. Beck will be greatly missed. Now all three are reunited in Heaven with all our loved ones who have passed away. May Mr. Beck rest in the Peace of Christ ! Go Rockets ! Go Irish !!! Reg Rogers Catholic High '77, Notre Dame '81
August 28, 2019
Joe was such an extraordinary man. I did not come to know Joe until later in his life, which I regret. My deepest sympathies to all of his family.
August 27, 2019
A few years ago my mother's brother John Binz died, and my mom and dad were overseas and would not be able to attend Uncle John's funeral. My sister Karen and I went in Mom's place and to represent the family. We had never been to Little Rock alone before and were feeling sort of lost, both geographically and spiritually, feeling our mother's loss and sad that she couldn't attend her brother's service.
Well Joe Conrad greeted us at the door of the funeral home offering us a ride back to our hotel and lodging at his house. He had read about our uncle's death and knew we'd be there. What a welcome sight he was and we will never forget his kindness, nor the kindness of our cousin Mary! So sad that I won't be at Uncle Joe's service but Karen is coming from Virginia to represent. He was a hero and a strong influence on all who knew him. The patriarch of the Beck family will be missed by so many who admired and respected him.
For years I hung his Air Force B-29 crew photo next to the flag in my 7th grade classroom, inviting students to put up any photos of service men and women from their own families, and many did. We all stood up a little straighter while saying our Pledge of Allegiance, in the company of so many who have served our country.
Love and prayers to all the Beck cousins, Uncle Bill, Uncle Louis and Aunt Margie. Richard and Michelle Hammond, Berlin, Maryland