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William L. Beck


1929 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
William L. Beck Obituary
William L. Beck

Age: 87 • Middlebury

Middlebury - William (Bill) L. Beck of Middlebury passed away peacefully on February 16, 2017 at the age of 87 following a brief Illness. He was born in Malden, MA on September 1, 1929, the son of the late William M.H. Beck, Jr. and Ruth Clark LeBaron Beck.

Bill was married for 34 years to Coleen Fitzsimmons of South Burlington, his best friend and business associate, until her untimely death on September 29, 2013. Bill and Coleen enjoyed an exceptional life together with extensive traveling. Whether they were sailing on Lake Champlain, the Caribbean or South Pacific, playing golf or traveling in their motor homes to places unknown, there was always adventures to be had.

Bill graduated from South Kingstown High School in Wakefield, RI and Dartmouth College, class of 1953. He was a former National and North American Downhill Ski Champion and member of the 1952 Men's Olympic Ski Team, captain of the 1956 Olympic Ski Team, and head men's coach of the 1960 Olympic Ski Team in Squaw Valley, CA. His 5th place finish in the 1952 Olympic Downhill event in Oslo, Norway was the best American finish in this event until 1984. At the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY, Bill served as an official in the downhill skiing events.

In 1982, Bill was presented the prestigious Julius Blegen award by the National Ski Association for his outstanding contribution to the sport of skiing. After his competitive skiing days, he founded, with Olympic teammate Verne Goodwin, the SKIHAUS stores in Middlebury and Rutland and Beck-Goodwin, Inc., a sales firm for ski equipment in the eastern half of the US. In 1970, they sold Beck-Goodwin, Inc. to the Garcia Corp. with a 5 year contract to manage the ski and hockey division.

After leaving the ski equipment business in 1975, Bill opened Bill Beck Real Estate, a residential real estate firm in Middlebury, VT. By 1980 the firm became the largest and most successful in Addison County with offices in Middlebury and Vergennes. Bill retired in 2001.

During his 57 years in Middlebury, Bill was a committed volunteer to various organizations. He served as a director of the Eastern Ski Association, director of the Addison County Chamber of Commerce, President of the Middlebury Development Corporation, President of the Addison County Board of Realtors, Vice President of Porter Medical Center, Director of Tucel Industries and the Waterville Company, Director of Addison County Community Housing, and co-chair of the 1989 Addison County United Way campaign with his wife Coleen. In September of 1995, Bill and his wife Coleen were presented with the Chamber of Commerce President's award for extraordinary service to the Chamber.

Bill is survived by his son Billy Beck, daughter-in-law, Jenna, and grandsons Will and Jack of Victor, ID. In addition, Bill will be deeply missed by his brothers and sisters-in-law, Mark and Lisa Quinlan of South Burlington, Mark and Margaret Fitzsimmons of Alexandria, VA, and Bob and Pat Fitzsimmons of East Montpelier.

The family would like to offer countless thanks to the wonderful staff at Eastview at Middlebury for their exemplary care and compassion. Additionally, Bill was so fortunate to have numerous close friends who visited him on a regular basis to reminisce and share a glass of wine. He touched many lives and was certainly loved by all.

A celebration of Bill's life will be held in Middlebury later in the spring. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Bill's memory to Porter Medical Center or the Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance.

Arrangements are under the direction of Sanderson-Ducharme Funeral Home.

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Published in The Burlington Free Press on Feb. 18, 2017
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