The James E. Beck Memorial Fund

I like to think of our life as a book with many chapters with beginnings and endings. Jim’s story begins when he was born in a small town in Pennsylvania. He had two brothers and a sister growing up under the watchful eyes of their parents. Upon graduation from high school, Jim began in the banking business. He started as a teller and worked his way up to being an auditor. He was also active in his church. Along the way, Jim made very many good friends.

I also was born in a small town in Pennsylvania. My ambition was to be a nurse. I began my nursing career in 1967. I joined the Army and upon my return home from the service began to settle in. I too was active in my church.

Our paths did not cross until 1973 when I went on a trip to Europe with a local radio station. All the while Jim was planning to take the same trip. So, you could say we met in Europe although we only lived twenty minutes from each other in the States. Upon returning from Europe we began dating, and in 1977 we became one to begin a new chapter as husband and wife.

Our lives continued and then in 1983 we began another chapter in our story. We adopted our daughter, Jennifer, who was born in Korea. This was such an exciting time for us. The day we picked Jennifer up at the airport Jim was all smiles. He was such a great Dad. He always had time for Jennifer.

Jim was a very caring person and always willing to help in any way he could. He loved to read and to travel. As a family, we got to see so many places together and experience new things. It was so much fun.

Then, another chapter in our lives began. Jim was not feeling well and went for testing and more testing until we were told he had ALS. His journey with ALS was a difficult one for him and for all those who loved him. He continued to lose more of the abilities we all take for granted, but did not complain. He continued with such grace and dignity, no matter what obstacle was placed in front of him. Despite it all, he could always give that big smile of his that could light up a room.

When Jim turned 65, Jennifer and I decided to have a birthday party for him. We invited over 100 family and friends to celebrate the day with us. The party was on Saturday, May 5, which was Jim’s actual birthday. It was a beautiful day. There were nearly 100 people there. They lined up waiting to get in to see Jim and then filtered throughout the house and also into the yard. One friend told Jim there were people lined up down the driveway and it was hard to find a parking place. He told Jim he thought he was going to see royalty. What a tribute to Jim when so many people came to share his special day.

Jim was an incredible man. He faced his disease with such courage and grace. He never complained. Jim was my husband and my best friend and there is a void in my life without him. I continue on this life journey trying to make a difference and always thanking God for the time I had with him. I pray that I am a better person for having known and loved Jim. Until we meet again Jim, I love you.

- Jeanette

Photos - James & Family

Remembering James

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