February 5, 1934 – May 28, 2020
Dean passed away peacefully from complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was 86.
Dean was born in Huron, South Dakota, to Art and Ruth Beck. He was the middle of three brothers and was raised during the Great Depression.
His family moved to Lebanon, Oregon, after the Dust Bowl made it impossible for them to continue farming in South Dakota.
Dean was active in sports at Lebanon High School and lettered in basketball and baseball. He was a member of the ROTC and that gave him the opportunity to pursue a business degree at the University of Oregon. He graduated in 1956 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Directly after leaving the U of O, Dean entered the US Army as a radio operator and served in Germany during the waning days of the Korean War. But if you ever heard him tell the story, he liked to say that he spent most of his time playing baseball with the 10th division artillery team!
After being honorably discharged from the army, Dean returned to the University of Oregon to work on a Master’s degree in history. In 1958 he met Barbara Dunkelberger at school and they were married later that year. Initially, he taught grade school and high school history in Gold Beach and Portland before joining the insurance business where he had a long, varied and successful career as a Surety Manager. His career took him and his family from coast to coast, living in Cedar Mill, Oregon; Daly City, California; Littleton, Colorado, Turnersville, New Jersey; Orinda, California; Beaverton, Oregon and eventually, San Francisco, California.
Barbara and Dean divorced in 1981. Dean later married Lynn (Alexander) O'Connell, a Colleague he met while working at Fireman's Fund Insurance in San Francisco, California. Dean and Lynn moved to Bend, Oregon, when they retired in the early 1990s.
Dean was an ardent fan and supporter of the University of Oregon; he never stopped loving and reading about history; he was an avid sports fan and took up running and tennis with a vengeance later in life. He loved reading and watching movies, especially westerns. He and his wife, Lynn, enjoyed traveling and went on numerous vacations all over the world. They became devoted supporters of the arts in Bend, attending numerous plays, musicals and art events. Dean, along with some close friends, started a group they called The Oval Club which met for food and beer and conversation every Thursday at a different brew pub in Bend. He made lasting friends wherever he went and in some circles, was known for his “Beck jokes” as he was always quick with a pun or humorous anecdote that most people could only respond to with a groan.
Dean is survived by his wife Lynn Beck of Bend, Oregon; his brother, Bruce Beck of Arvada, Colorado; four children from his marriage to Barbara Dunkelberger: Stuart Beck (Joanne) of Boston, Massachusetts; Matthew Beck (Karen) of Portland, Oregon; Maria Beck of Lewiston, Maine; and Kathleen Beck of Bend, Oregon. He is also survived by Lynn’s children, Colleen LaFontaine (Jean-Francis) and Brian O’Connell of Chicago, Illinois; seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.
A celebration of life will be planned for a future date. Please visit the online registry for the family at www.niswonger-reynolds.com. Donations in his honor can be made to Partners In Care of Bend, Oregon: https://www.partnersbend.org/donate-to-bend-hospice/
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