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John Robert "Bob" Beck

Obituary Condolences

John Robert "Bob" Beck Obituary
John Robert "Bob" Beck
1924-2014
Resident of Los Altos
Bob Beck passed away on February 16 at El Camino Hospital after a short illness. Born in Virginia, Minnesota on July 16, 1924, Bob graduated from Mountain Iron High School in 1941. He received a BS in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota during WWII while in the V-12 Navy College Training Program. Afterwards, he was assigned to Naval Intelligence, where he spent a year studying Japanese in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Bob joined Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, NY as a chemical engineer in 1947 and in 1949 he married Mary Jane Herby, a newspaper reporter for the Rochester Times-Union. They raised five children and settled permanently in Los Altos in 1967.
Bob had an illustrious 39-year career at Kodak, working on many aspects of film development and color print and processing. He spent the last fourteen years of his career as manager of the Kodak Processing Lab in Palo Alto, retiring in 1986.
Shortly after retirement, Bob volunteered for two years as Acting Deputy Director and business manager for the San Jose Museum of Art.
Bob then volunteered with the Museum of American Heritage (MoAH) in Palo Alto, a relationship that lasted for over twenty years. He served in such capacities as Executive Director, chair of the photography exhibit, member of the Board of Directors, member of the Community Advisory Board, and served on the Collections Committee.
When he wasn't busy volunteering, Bob enjoyed cooking, sports of all kinds, and especially traveling and exploring the world with Mary Jane.
Family and friends will always remember him as kind, gentle, patient, perennially curious, an avid reader, an excellent writer and a great storyteller.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 64 years, Mary Jane, his children: Bryan (Kaia Eakin) of Redwood City, Steve (Jane Baxter) of Menlo Park, David (Sue Hatfield) of Seattle, Barbara (Geoff Anderson) of Arizona, Tom (Amy Norton) of Colorado, granddaughters Allison Baxterbeck of Manhattan and Ariel Baxterbeck of San Francisco, one niece and three nephews.
Friends and family are invited to a celebration of his life on Thursday, March 6 at 2 p.m. at Spangler Mortuary in Los Altos. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Museum of American Heritage in Palo Alto, http://www.moah.org.

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Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Mar. 3, 2014
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