Neil Henry Beck, 89 years old, of Palisade, Colorado, passed away peacefully on Thursday, October 5th, 2023 in Grand Junction. He spent his final days surrounded by family and friends, laughing at stories.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 48 years Pamela “Pam” (Worden, 2002), wife of 9 years Margaret “Marty” (Shay, 2012), and sister Shirley Smith (Beck, 1986).
He is survived by his daughter Cynthia “Cindy” Beck; his son David and daughter-in-law Lisa; his daughter Deborah “Debbie” Kendrick and son-in-law Michael; his son Douglas and daughter-in-law Julie; his eight grandchildren; and four great grandchildren. He also had a great love for his nieces and nephew.
Neil was born in Aspen to parents Henry Beck and Pansy (Ware) Beck on October 25, 1933. As a child he loved playing the saxophone, though unfortunately his lessons came to a grinding halt when he was 13. A fourth-generation Aspenite, he graduated from Aspen High School in 1950, alongside his cousin and best friend Paul Beck.
Neil wasn't just shaped by his hometown, but helped shape it too. Though he never grew up, he did grow to be a gifted mechanic and heavy machine operator. His excavation company, Dooger Digging, cleared snow from the city’s streets in the winter and dug the city’s foundations in the summer.
The home where he was born, and where he raised his own family, was special to him: he moved the whole house joking that “every 100 years you should rotate it to get the sun on the other side.”
He was a member of the Aspen Elks Club and Aspen Eagles Club.
Among his friends and family he was well known for his sense of humor and elaborate pranks. He possessed a strong interest in and incredible knowledge of history, both global and specific to the Roaring Fork Valley. He loved spending time in Goblin Valley, Utah with friends riding motorcycles and four-wheelers, having a beer around the campfire, and winning water gun fights.
In the last decades of his life he enjoyed a great deal of time in San Felipe, Mexico and developed many cherished friendships there, including with his companion of 6 years, Franny Avila.
A memorial will be held at The Aspen Elks Club on October 12th at 2pm following interment at Red Butte Cemetery at 1 pm.
In lieu of flowers, please pull a prank, make someone laugh, or buy a friend a beer.
“Don’t go, please stay.”