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Eleanor Patricia Beck ’44

A picture of (Eleanor) Patricia Beck

Eleanor Patricia Beck ’44, March 22, 2011, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland. Patricia grew up in Seattle and came to Reed, where she became the first woman student body president. She later cited Sally Hovey Wriggins ’44, Victor L.O. Chittick [English 1921-48], and Edna Whitman Chittick [music 1931-39] as major influences. “It was a marvelous experience to participate in an intellectual community. I think it must have been Reed's education that taught me to ask questions about anything and everything, and it was a splendid introduction to the landscapes and culture of Portland and Oregon.” After earning her BA in history, Patricia received a scholarship to Stanford University, but the program's lack of intellectual rigor disenchanted her. She quit and got a job as a copy editor at Time-Life, first in New York and later in London, then moved to Ceylon [Sri Lanka] to be a nursemaid for British friends. She contracted polio, but recovered the use of her limbs thanks to excellent nursing. Following that, she got a job on the Ceylon Observer, an English-language newspaper, and traveled extensively in the East before returning to England. She held a brief position with the Press Association/Reuters and then set up her own public relations and printing company with fellow Reuters employee Stanley Clark. In 1958, she became a British citizen, citing her abhorrence for the violence and for the gap between rich and poor in the U.S. among her reasons for doing so. At age 50, Patricia enrolled at agricultural college and worked 10 years on farms in England and Scotland. She then became a librarian at St. Leonard's boarding school in St. Andrews, Scotland. Among her many pursuits in retirement, she learned about the stars and birds and mammals, and repaired the gaps in stonewalls near her home that were made by sheep and cows.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2011

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