W. Morton "Mort" Beck, 93, of Overland Park, Kansas, died peacefully, attended by family, Tuesday, November 13, 2012. The memorial service celebrating his life will be at The Village Presbyterian Church, 67th and Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS on Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to The Village Church Food Pantry in recognition of Dad's many volunteer hours at the pantry helping to feed those most in need.
Born in Moline, Kansas on December 31, 1918, to Guy Morton Beck and Marian Elizabeth Wallace, the family moved from El Dorado, Kansas to Kansas City in 1929. Mort graduated Southwest High School (1936) and KC Junior College (1938) before receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (1940). Mort married Jane Partridge in September 1941, and they shared fifty-two years of a wonderful marriage until Jane's death in April 1993.
Prior to his military service, Mort joined Arthur Anderson & Company in Kansas City. Following his World War II service as a Navy Lieutenant with the Fifth Amphibious Force, South Pacific (1943-1946), he became a Certified Public Accountant, a member of the Missouri Society and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and a member of the Financial Executives Institute. In his professional capacity, Mort served as treasurer and/or financial controller of several companies, including Battenfeld Grease & Oil Co., The Kansas City Mortgage Company, and J.F. Pritchard & Co. in Kansas City before concluding his career as treasurer and controller of Procon International, an engineering & construction firm in Des Plaines, Illinois. He retired in 1983 and returned to Kansas City.
Mort and Jane joined The Village Church in 1949 and Morton remained deeply involved in the life of the church until his death. Over the years, he served as a trustee and treasurer for the church, and a member of the Steering committee and treasurer of Men's Fellowship at Village. In 1994, he was a member of the task force that established a Presbyterian retirement community in Johnson County. Beginning in 1997, Mort served as a member and treasurer of the Village Church's Dominican Republic Medical Mission. He loved the DR mission trips and continued to travel to the DR until the age of 90. The Village Food Pantry was another volunteering commitment in which he believed and worked tirelessly for many years.
Mort was also an active volunteer with Seniors Serving Schools in Shawnee Mission, and volunteered as a teacher's aid in first and third grades twice a week for 18 years at Trailwood Elementary School. He loved working with children and helping them with reading, math and spelling. He was more than just a volunteer, and was known lovingly as "Mr. Mort", taking time to attend students' athletic games, programs, and school events. In public places students and former students who saw him enthusiastically greeted "Mr. Mort" who always had a welcoming smile and an encouraging word for them.
In May 2007, Mort was honored to be a recipient of the State of Kansas' "Points of Light Award" for Outstanding Service empowering people to become involved in volunteerism, and in 2010, he received "The Kindest Kansas Citian Award", chosen from essays written by former students setting forth why their nominee should be recognized as a Kindest Kansas Citian.
Mort was devoted to his family. In addition to traveling, gardening, and reading, he loved spending time with his children, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He is survived by his beloved partner of 19 years, Helen Perucca, of the home, and by his children, James M. Beck (Judy), Mission Hills, KS, Karen B. Jantz (Rodney), Stilwell, KS, and David C. Beck (Susan), Dallas, TX; seven grandchildren, Emily Beck Watts (Joe) of Prairie Village; Doug Beck (Paige) of Leawood; Jennifer Jantz of Stilwell; Amy Jantz of Stilwell; Miranda Beck of Washington, D.C.; Jake Beck of Chicago; Spencer Beck of Boulder, Colorado, and four great-grandchildren, Alex Anderson, David Watts, Charlotte (Charley) Beck, Katie Beck. Mort is also survived by Josephine Beck Detmering of Fontana, KS, his 104-year-old aunt and life-long friend who will miss him dearly.
Mort will be remembered as a man of faith, love, and integrity. He had a very positive outlook on life and engaged in life-long learning, always greeting young and old with a big, welcoming smile that lit up the room. He gave freely of his time and talents to his church, and his community. He led a full and active life of almost 94 years devoted to family, friends, and church until God called him home. He will be missed.