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John A. Beck ’49

February 16, 2019, in Vancouver, Washington.

As a toddler, JB, as he was known, moved with his family to Vancouver, Washington, from Texas. He stayed there for the rest of his life. After attending Benson Boys Polytech, a technical high school in Portland, he served in the U.S. Army during World War II. JB studied physics at Reed. He wrote his thesis, “An Investigation of Physical Properties for Transistor Action,” with Prof. Theodore Lashof [physics 1946–50] advising.

In addition to getting a degree, JB left Reed with “an open mind to accept or at least consider new ideas. Reed encouraged me to accept different opinions and beliefs of others and to realize their views might be the right ones, at least until proven otherwise.”

In his diverse career, he worked as an FDA inspector, a pharmaceutical rep, a residential developer/builder, and a city plans examiner. JB was an avid reader, who closely followed current events, and enjoyed target shooting and road trips.

His wife of 57 years, Helen, died in 2004. JB is survived by Alan and Eric, his “boys,” as he called them, and Virginia, his companion of 14 years.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2019

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