Longtime Roswell Daily Record owner and former publisher Robert Beck passed away late last week at the age of 97.
Beck, who died in San Diego, California on Friday, Aug. 24, began work at the Roswell Daily Record as circulation manager in 1947 and delved into various facets of the business, including a stint as advertising manager, along the way to becoming publisher of the newspaper in 1955.
He would serve as publisher of the Roswell Daily Record for the next 32 years and was active in the community during his tenure, serving on the boards of a number of local institutions, including Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) and Pioneer Bank.
Leadership was nothing new to Beck. A graduate of Trinity College in Connecticut, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and then the U.S. Air Force, where he was promoted to the rank of Major. His skill as a pilot — which included flying the Burma-China Hump during World War II — earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal, an honor presented for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight.
In the years immediately following the war, Beck continued flying, going to work as a commercial pilot for Capital Airlines. He also married Marjorie Shearman in Chicago, Illinois and a few years later the couple moved to Roswell where Beck’s service to the Roswell Daily Record and the local community began.
The legacy he left at the newspaper continues to this day. The Roswell Daily Record is still published from the 2301 N. Main Street facility Beck had built in the early 1970s, and is still printed on the press he purchased and had installed. In an example of continuity rare on today’s media landscape, the Roswell Daily Record remains to this day a corporation whose sole stockholders are members of the Beck family.
Beck was active in the newspaper industry in New Mexico, having served on the Board of the New Mexico Press Association. The Association inducted Beck into its Hall of Fame in 1989.
Though Beck retired as publisher in 1987 — when he was succeeded at the helm by his son, Cory Beck — he would stay committed to area institutions and remain influential here for the rest of his life. He served on the board of the Santa Fe Opera, and on the Governor’s Organized Crime Commission, in addition to being an ENMU regent. He also stayed interested and involved in his New Mexico-based business interests, which included the oil and gas industries, and kept in contact with many friends in the region.
His family noted that Beck’s love of flying continued throughout his life.
He is survived by his wife, Marjorie, and daughters Carol, Kate and Barbara, the current publisher of the Roswell Daily Record, as well as friends and former colleagues too numerous to list. Cory preceded him in death in 2006.
Beck will be buried with full military honors at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.
Funeral chapel services will be at Berardinelli Family Funeral Service, 1399 Luisa St., Santa Fe at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 4. A graveside service will follow, at 3 p.m. sharp, at the Santa Fe National Cemetery, 501 N. Guadalupe St., Santa Fe.
A public visitation will be held at 12:30 p.m. at Berardinelli Family Funeral Service.