Decatur Herald & Review
Darrell Wayne Beck died Thursday, April 21, 2011 in his home.
Darrell was born in Carson Township, Fayette County Illinois on February 27, 1933 to Emma and Noble Beck . He has always kept a special place in his heart for Herrick, IL.
Darrell began a life long love affair with dancing at a very young age. He studied acrobatic dancing, ballet, and tap. At the age of 9, he met Ursula Young when they were students of dance together and friends.
Darrell developed a dedication to ballroom dancing and ultimately, he and Ursula became dance instructors at Arthur Murray Dance Studio. It was here that the romance developed and on November 14, 1953 they became Mr. And Mrs. Darrell Beck .
Darrell served 4 years in the United States Navy before moving back to Decatur. He worked for McKeever Communications while Ursula and he became parents to 7 children.
Darrell converted from Lutheranism to Catholicism and his devotion to service to the community began. As an active member of St. James Catholic Church, he became involved in the Holy Name Society, Home and School and the Lay Advisory Board. He also was active volunteer at St. Teresa High School where he was President of the Foundation and was the “Voice of the Bulldogs” announcing home football games for 43 years. He and Ursula directed and choreographed 5 musicals and co-chaired 2 major fundraisers. He also contributed the largest single cash donation by an individual to the school.
Darrell held leadership positions in the Knights of Columbus on a local, state and national level. His passion for the Knights of Columbus was outstanding as he served as State Deputy for Illinois and was Supreme Master for the 4th Degree and served on the international Board of Directors in New Haven, Ct. As an active Knight of Columbus — two of his passions were calling bingo at Council #577 and developing the Tootsie Roll Drive that supported Special Olympics. He then became President of the Board of Directors for Illinois Special Olympics and then helped raise over $1 million.
Darrell became President and CEO of McKeever Communications. He began an explosive expansion into wide area network paging, towers, and cellular phones. He retired in 1993 and began to invest his time and talents and treasures in other philanthropic opportunities.
He and Ursula participated in or led many community service organizations such as: Easter Seals, YWCA, YMCA, Millikin University, Richland Community College, St. Mary’s, Newman Catholic Center, Decatur Pride, Decatur Park Singers, Heart Association, Cancer Society, Kiwanis, Sertoma, ROMEO, and Summerstart, St. James and St. Teresa Schools. He served on the Board of Directors of CIB Bank, Water Island and Lincoln Theatre.
Darrell received numerous awards including the Easter Seals Seal of Excellence Award, Sertoma Man of the Year, Kiwanis Man of the Year, the Chamber of Commerce Civic Award, and State of Illinois Knights of Columbus Family of the Year. In 2001, Darrell was the Medallion Society recipient for the 100th Anniversary Outstanding Alumni at Millikin University.
Darrell was privileged to have nine audiences with Pope John Paul II and worked in Mother Theresa’s soup kitchen. He is the Knight Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
Darrell is survived by sons, Mark (Dominique) of Los Angeles, CA, Matt (Natalie) of Decatur, IL, Dan (Tunde) of Seattle, WA and Sam (Jennifer) of Milwaukee, WI; daughters, Angela (Mary) of Austin, TX, Amy Bliefnick (Ray) of Decatur, IL, Maggy Pugh (Brad) of Decatur, IL; grandchildren, Ted (Rachael) of Indianapolis, IN, Tim (Becky) of Quincy, IL, Tommy, of Decatur, IL, Christine Chandler (Nate) of Decatur, IL, Stephanie Kreke (Ryan) of Decatur, IL, Emily (Brit Miller) of St. Louis, MO, August, Sutton, Milwaukee, WI, Estelle and Lillian of Seattle WA, Lauryn and Gracey of Decatur, IL; great-grandchildren, Deacon Bliefnick of Quincy, IL and Macy Miller of St. Louis, MO; sister, Donna Noel of Springfield, MO; brother, Ed of Albuquerque, NM, and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by the love of his life, Ursula; sisters Norma Hebel, Karyn Sue Beck .
Darrell and the family request donations made to: Darrell and Ursula Beck Charitable Fund through the Community Foundation, 125 North Water, Decatur, IL 62523.
Darrell said, “I dreamed and lived the impossible dream and I did it my way!”
Obituary written by family members.