Wayne Emil Beck, M.D., of Prescott, Ariz., ascended into heaven on Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012, where he could comfortably watch his grandchildren hunt for Easter eggs.
Wayne was the 11th child of Nelson and Louise Beck, born at their home in Tucson, Ariz., on Sept. 16, 1946. When asked about being the youngest of 11, Wayne would smile and say it took 11 attempts to achieve perfection.
His family relocated to a farm in Glendale, Ariz., where he raised 4H animals, swam in irrigation ditches, ate watermelons from the fields in the summertime and developed a love of the land.
He lost his father at 9 years of age and moved in with his older sister, Karen Dennis, and her family. Having already developed an independent nature and strong desire to be self-reliant, Wayne supported himself as a paperboy, working evenings at Bashas Grocery in the meat department and on the loading docks of a local garment factory.
Glendale High School was a special place where football and wrestling provided a competitive outlet, and participation in FFA and student government allowed for personal growth. He was awarded the Future Farmers of America State Farmer of the Year award in 1964, served as state treasurer 1964-1965 and won a national speaking contest in 1964. He traveled the state visiting chapters and forming lifelong friendships. His weekends were spent working, cruising Central Avenue in his 1955 Chevy or hanging out with friends at spur-of-the-moment street dances held in the cotton fields around Glendale.
In 1964, he enrolled at the University of Arizona and, thus, he became "A WILDCAT FOR LIFE"!
He lived in the Aggie House with other young men from rural Arizona and was a member of ROTC attaining the rank of Army captain. As a University of Arizona student, he was chief justice of the Men's Judicial System and a senator for the College of Agriculture. He earned a BA in animal science (1968), an MS in animal science/biochemistry (1970) while working as a graduate researcher and instructor, followed by a medical doctorate (1975). He completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Maricopa County Medical Center in Phoenix in 1978.
In 1979, he moved his family to Prescott, Ariz., a town he had developed an affinity for as a young child. He and his partner Robert Abt, M.D., opened Prescott Women's Clinic. For him it was a privilege to care for the women of Prescott and he was honored for the opportunity to do so. He cherished the relationships that developed over the years with his patients and staff. He would rejoice over the birth of a child or shed tears in times of sorrow. When physical conditions forced his retirement, his first thoughts were of how much he would miss delivering babies and the surgical side of his practice. Later he realized what he really missed was the doctor/patient relationships and the friendships that meant so much to him during his 33 years of private practice. Wayne was recognized as one of America's top obstetrician/gynecologists from 2002-2006.
Always striving to provide his patients and the community with the best possible care, he was a founding member and president of the Prescott Outpatient Surgery Center as well as director of the Bagdad Clinic located in Bagdad, Ariz., which he took over operations of in 1980. This allowed him to connect with the people of Bagdad and provide them access to the best healthcare providers.
Wayne loved Mexico and, through his associations in the medical community, he saw an opportunity to help. The acquisition of the clinic in Bagdad and the remodeling of the Prescott Outpatient Surgery Center resulted in semis full of medical equipment that through the help of the Lion's Club of Puerto Penasco were donated to the hospitals in Rocky Point. This was a lifelong activity with the family routinely picking up supplies and delivering them to Mexico. Wayne was honored by many of the service clubs in Rocky Point and the mayor for his contribution to their community.
In later years, he renewed his connections with the U of A. He was a founding member of the College of Agriculture Alumni Council and currently serves on the board. Additionally, he served on the UA Alumni Association Board of Directors as well as the College of Medicine Board of Directors and was the founder and president of the College of Medicine Alumni Council. In 2010, he was awarded The University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award. Yes, he bleeds Red and Blue.
Wayne also enjoyed expanding his knowledge in the business world. He was a founder of County Bank and served as the president of the board of directors. His love of land and opportunity led to numerous real estate and business development partnerships with friends and family throughout the state of Arizona including part owner and member of the board of directors for Arizona Land Advisors, Everest Holdings and Lobo Ranches as well as the founder and president of Beck Legacy Group.
Wayne was married to Nelda Northen. Wayne and Nelda met in grade school and enjoyed a friendship through their high school years that grew into a love that lasted a lifetime. He often referred to her as his best friend. Together they raised three children, Kimberli, Dane and Inga. He felt the best gifts he could give them were unconditional love and independence. He welcomed his sons-in-law Levi and Don into the family and was touched by the love, compassion and joy they brought to his daughters' lives. He was known to his grandchildren as "Babu," a Swahili word for grandfather. His face would light up at the mention of their names and he loved to watch their young personalities develop as they ran from one adventure to the next.
Wayne was passionate about life and being part of the community. He believed that accomplishments mean little if one does not help those that follow achieve their dreams, always a mentor.
He spent his time off traveling to all parts of the Southwest and Mexico to fish with friends, explore or learn more about the geology that made this land so remarkable. The Colorado River was especially important to him from trips to Lake Powell, rafting the Colorado River or spending time on the Sea of Cortez. We will miss watching him as he worked crossword puzzles thinking of his next great idea or playing with his dogs that put his mind and body at ease.
He is survived by his wife Nelda; children Kim (Don) Lee, Dane Beck, Inga (Levi) Brchan; grandchildren Gage Lee, Brayden Lee, Sydnee Lee, Beau Brchan, Finn Brchan and Clayton Brchan; sisters Susie Fox, Ruthie Stafford and Karen Dennis; and brother Hank Beck as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Wayne was a hugger who lived life in a big way, loved big and whose absence has left a big hole in our hearts.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Prescott Education Foundation, 125 N. Granite St., Prescott, AZ 86301. All funds donated are tax deductible and will be used for the creation of the Dr. Wayne Beck Scholarship Fund to benefit Prescott graduates with a focus on students enrolling at the University of Arizona. Also, contributions can be made to the Yavapai College Foundation for students in the nursing program, 1100 E. Sheldon St. Prescott, AZ 86301.
With respect to Wayne's wishes, no formal funeral ceremony is planned.
Please visit Wayne Beck on Facebook to share memories with the family.
Information provided by survivors.