Dr. Joseph George Beck

February 19, 1935August 2, 2021

Dr. Joseph “Joe” George Beck, age 86, passed away Monday, August 2, 2021, at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield, Missouri. He was born on Tuesday, February 19, 1935, in Youngstown, Ohio and married Sara Louise Ramser on Saturday, November 17, 1962 (also in Youngstown).

He is survived by his wife Sara, brother-in-law Charles E. Ramser (Lori Kay), nieces and nephews Joan Anderson (Thomas), Tim Smith, Cheryl Adams, Della Collins (Tim), James Walter Beck Jr. (Kimberly), John Beck (Steven Johnson), Jennifer Dudley (Robert), Jodi Beck and Charles Douglas Ramser (Kierra). He was preceded in death by his sister Elizabeth Adams (Harry) and brother James Walter Beck Sr.

A graduate of Westminster Choir College, he also earned a Master of Arts degree in voice and conducting from Kent State University and a Doctor of Education degree from St. Louis University. Joseph taught choral and vocal music at Kent State University, Mount Union College, Webster University, St. Louis University, and Maryville University.

Joseph was president of JGB Productions, a film and video production company. He was a singer, conductor, clinician, and performed extensively in St. Louis. He served as musical director of the St. Louis Repertory Theatre, guest conductor for the St. Louis Chamber Chorus and Midwest Lyric Opera, founded the Madrigal Singers of St. Louis and authored two books on John Finley Williamson, founder of the Westminster Choir.

Joseph loved his wife, his family, many friends and students. Music, theater, entertaining and cooking brought him great pleasure.

A Memorial Service will be held Thursday, August 12, 2021 at 3pm, at Ladue Chapel, 9450 Clayton Road, Saint Louis MO 63124. A reception will follow immediately after at a private residence. Directions will be made available at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Westminster Foundation of Princeton New Jersey, Inc., 174 Nassau Street #124, Princeton, New Jersey 08542 or use the link below to contribute online.

Please leave a fond, favorite memory of Joe at the "Add a Memory" link below.


  • Memorial Service - Thursday

    Thursday, August 12, 2021


Dr. Joseph George Beck

have a memory or condolence to add?

Tom Anderson III

August 13, 2021

Love you Uncle Joe! Aunt Sally, you are in our thoughts and prayers - we love you! We have nothing but fond memories of the time spent with you. You will always be in our hearts. Tom, Alison, Kate, Cort, Alice, Smith and Ruth.

Raymond Eveland

August 11, 2021

Cousins are the ones with whom we share the most beautiful memories of our lives, that is what Joseph did for me.
No words can express your loss.


Teresa Schmidt

August 10, 2021

I met my husband Stephen of 40 plus years when Joseph put us together as Madrigal partners while we were members of the chorale at St Louis University. I am forever grateful for that pairing of soulmates via music that has kept us together through times of celebration and challenge.

Dan Monahan

August 9, 2021

For 46 years, he was my dear friend, voice teacher, and a constant inspiration to show passion in the arts and in life. He will be missed by the hundreds who were part of his sphere of love and compassion.

Joe was a deeply spiritual person. He often said that God spoke to him through great musical works as they were being performed by passionate artists. Many times, I saw this special moment reflected in his students, as they took great joy in a personal musical accomplishment. We all remember his favorite teaching lessons: like “Hearts of Fire and Minds of Ice.” Every time we perform, play an instrument, and do a simple act of kindness, we will exhibit that lesson. Joe’s love will continue to sing in our “Hearts of Fire,” and his masterful teaching, in our “Minds of Ice.”

Audrey and I will continue to send our deepest sympathy to our dear Sally who has our constant thoughts and prayers.

Brenda McDonald

August 8, 2021

Such a wonderful life of music, teaching, and sharing. The love that Sally and Joe had for each other was evident to me every time I saw them together and when Sally talked about him.

Rev. Samuel Scott

August 6, 2021

Dr. Joe Beck’s love for Westminster Choir College will continue to inspire us all because God’s love is eternal. My mother, Jean, and I will remember Sara in our prayer intentions as we mourn the loss of our friend and teacher. Joe, you fought the good fight. May you now Rest In Peace. — Reverend Samuel Scott

Diane and Larry Biser

August 6, 2021

Joe Beck was a giant among men. His zeal in furthering the legacy and goals of Westminster Choir College are unparalleled. His generosity of spirit was, likewise, amazing. Joe will long be remembered.

Joseph Murphy

August 5, 2021

Joe taught me all I know, however meager my talent, about singing. God bless you sir.

Rosemary Boone

August 5, 2021

Joe will be deeply missed by hundreds of his Westminster Alumni family. His devotion to the memory and legacy of Dr. Williamson was contagious. His books about our beloved Westminster are a treasure as was Joe. Until we meet again Joe, May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Dr Jerry Custer

August 5, 2021

There's an important error in this obituary: our dear brother Joe is survived by scores of alumni of Westminster Choir College, which he fought valiantly to rescue. No school, nor its founder, Dr John Finley Williamson, ever had a more devoted, tireless, and capable champion. Go with God, Joe. The Lord bless you and keep you. In our hearts you will remain until the Great Reunion.