The world suffered a great loss on April 12, 2019 when Vernon Lee Beck passed away at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center surrounded by his loving wife Rozella, and three of his children, LeeVern Beck, RozeLee Rugh and RozeLyn Beck. A Celebration of Life will be held at Hull and Hull Funeral Directors in Grants Pass, Oregon at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 20, 2019, one day after what would have been his 89th birthday.
Partners in marriage and business, Vernon was always finding a new project to launch - with confidence that his wife of 67 years, Rozella, would solve whatever havoc he caused. He never met a stranger he didn’t like or a bowl of ice cream that was too large. He was always telling a story - often with embellishments. There was never a product he wouldn’t try to sell – as long as he personally believed in it. As an Army Sgt. First Class, his favorite question when he met a new non army veteran was, “Were you on our side?”
Born in Lenox, Iowa to Johnny and Pauline Beck on April 19, 1930, he moved with his parents and his younger brother Kenny to Reinbeck, Iowa in 1944. Meeting his future wife in 1946 when she was thirteen, Vernon graduated from Reinbeck High School in 1947 and was drafted into the U.S. Army in January 1952. After dating for four years, Vernon married Rozella Ann Blakley on May 24, 1952, just two weeks before he shipped out to Korea. Instead of a honeymoon with his bride, he served his country for 14 months in Korea, arriving under enemy fire on his first night. He served in the 45th Infantry Division with the 189th Field Artillery Battalion, Battery A. While serving in Korea, he was awarded the Korean Service Medal with three Bronze Service Stars for heroic or meritorious service. He often commented that the best sermon he ever heard was while sitting on a hillside in Korea. Returning to Reinbeck, Iowa in October 1953, he was welcomed home by his wife, his six-month old son LeeVern, and numerous other family and friends.
After farming for two years, and welcoming daughter RozeAnn to the family, the sunny climate of California beckoned. Living in the San Fernando Valley, California for 13 years, Vernon worked at Rocketdyne, International Harvester, and Anthony Pools where he excelled in his lifelong career of sales, before progressing to management. Individually, and with his sales team, Vernon set several industry records; many of which still stand to this day.
During their time in California, their family grew as they added two more daughters, RozeLee and RozeLyn, and a muddle of guinea pigs. Escaping Southern California in 1968, the Beck family moved to Grants Pass, Oregon where they purchased and operated Lee’s Trailer Sales. Once in their new hometown, Vernon fulfilled his promise to his children by adopting a puppy named “Big Deal”, and two kittens, named “Wholesale” and “Retail”. As a team, Vernon and Rozella sold mobile homes and recreational vehicles to thousands of customers, while developing residential subdivisions, mobile home parks and other commercial properties. In the fall of 2000, they launched a new endeavor, Lee’s Mini Storage.
A patriotic and proud American, Vernon was active with the Korean War Veterans Association, a member of the NRA, a Colonel in the Commemorative Air Force, and was planning to participate in a Veteran Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. in June, that he will unfortunately miss. He was a world traveler who visited 29 countries and was most proud that his wife was able to escape from a dark bathroom in a salt mine in Bogota, Venezuela with the Swiss Army Knife she always carried in her purse.
Vernon is survived by his beloved wife Rozella Ann Beck, his son LeeVern Beck, both of Grants Pass, Oregon, daughter RozeLee and son-in-law Tom Rugh of Dallas, TX, daughter RozeLyn Beck of Dallas, TX, granddaughters Alaina Clark of Wasilla, AK and Alissa Alvarado of San Antonio, TX, grandson Tyler Rugh of College Station, TX, brother Kenneth Beck of Nixa, MO, sister-in-law Morella Larsen of Palm Springs, CA, several great grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and his 19 year old cat “Kitty Cat”, who lived with him longer than any of his kids. Vernon was preceded in death by his oldest daughter RozeAnn Clark.
Memorial donations may be made to: Commemorative Air Force in Dallas, Texas (www.commemorativeairforce.org or P.O. Box 764769, Dallas, Texas 75376); or the Korean War Veterans Association Chapter 315 (c/o Ron Delphy, 1517 Agape Way, Grants Pass, 97526); or Crater Lake Council of Boy Scouts of America (contact James Westfall at firstname.lastname@example.org); or Josephine County 4-H Oregon (215 Ringuette Street, Grants Pass, OR 97527).