Remembering Jim Beck
Jack Kean spoke about Jim Beck at today's luncheon. For those of you unable to attend, here is what Jack had to say in rememberance of Jim Beck.
In the words of George Carlin, they could have just as easily been uttered by Jim Beck:
James S. Beck," Jim", a Paul Harris Fellow, and a member of the "Greatest Generation" joined the Rotary Club of Winchester in 1972 and was a Rotarian until he was forced by family circumstances and his own health issues to resign from Rotary and move to Andover a few years ago. He was married to the light and love of his life Bea. Jim was a proud yet humble husband, father and grandfather. Family meant more to Jim than life itself and if you were a friend of Jim's you were family.
Jim's classification was Group Insurance. At the time Jim joined Rotary the classification system was a strictly enforced component. Rotary is unique among service clubs in having a classification system designed to promote a membership which represents a broad cross-section of the businesses and professions in the community. Originally only one person in any particular classification could belong to a Rotary club. When Jim was invited to became a member there were already 5 Insurance agents in the club, a minor technicality. As Rotarians do they always find a way. Thus Jim's classification was listed as Group Insurance, the other 5 being Life, Casualty, Investment, Automobile and just plain Insurance.
Jim was involved in all aspects of this club from the very beginning of his membership. A great athlete, known most for his skills on the tennis court, Jim spent 12 years patrolling short field for the club's entry in the District Softball League. He was as dependable on the field as he was in all aspects of his life. The fellowship of Rotary, whether on the ball field, or Club sponsored events like a Pops concert, a trip to Fenway or a club social function like "Ladies Night" was where Jim saw an opportunity to develop and enrich existing friendships.
He was soft spoken, clear headed, a man of exemplary character, great reputation and he had a sense of humor. Jim was the epitome of a gentleman. He had a zest for life and lived it to the fullest. He saw the best in everyone. Jim was connected in the community but focused his charitable bent within this Club. He realized that through Rotary he could accomplish things in the community that an individual could not. The days of the Barn, Auction and Bean Supper created an atmosphere of camaraderie and fellowship but also were very demanding. Jim threw himself right into the fray and never looked back. Those two hour stints at the barn on Monday nights and Saturday mornings trying to be a junior Bekins moving man was, at times, a sight to behold. He made the commitment of time and energy. Jim never wavered on his obligation to his assignment , always keeping his eyes on the prize, the money's raised through his efforts and those of his fellow Rotarians. It was through Jim's sweat and toil and those who served with him that the club enjoys the financial stability we have today. Jim never sought personal accolades but went about his service as a true Rotarian. "Service Above Self"
Jim's membership spanned more than a generation and he saw many changes in Rotary. He always adapted and he always put service first. He was there for the end of the Barn and Auction era; he was there for the first Golf Tournament; he was there for the first Pancake Breakfast. His commitment to the success of each was steadfast.
There is one Object of Rotary(1) that is manifested in four ways and the Third : "The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business, and community life" best describes Jim. Rotary's Four Way Test and its code of ethics was an integral part of his life. He was always concerned about the other.
Jim's spirit lives on in this club and hopefully will inspire us to continue on, never to forget our dedication to community service. He was "true to himself" and those around him. May we all honor a life well lived by trying to emulate his benevolent and generous nature.
Stephen Grellet a prominent French-born American Quaker missionary once said:
" I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again."
That is how Jim passed this way. Let us follow in his footsteps.
June 4, 2015
June 4, 2015
(1)The Object of Rotary: First. The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service; Second. High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society; Third. The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business, and community life; and Fourth. The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.