Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around her, Mary Beck was an extraordinary woman to know and love. She was kind and cheerful with a warm and genuine personality that made her approachable toward others. A loving wife and devoted mother, it was easy to see that Mary’s true joy was found when she was surrounded by the four grandchildren she adored. A longtime member of the community she loved, she was a friend to many. Life will never be the same without Mary here, but she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as WWII raged on. Countless young servicemen and women were deeply entrenched in the fight while those who remained stateside became all too familiar with rationing on common goods like sugar, rubber, tin, and paper. It was during this eventful time that George and Inga (Bing) Bowman were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby as March appeared on the horizon in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1943. The big day finally arrived on March 12th when the baby girl they named Mary Lou drew her first breath. She was the sixth of seven children as she was joined in her family by her older siblings, Avis, Robert, Gladys, David, Dolores, and her younger brother, Jerry.
In many ways Mary was a young girl of her generation. Her father worked as a tool and die maker and also worked in construction while her mother was a homemaker. Raised in the family home on Euclid Avenue, SE, in Grand Rapids, Mary was close with her family. Their family enjoyed being together and frequently went for picnics in Townsend Park. They also took a trip to Chicago to check out the Museum of Natural History. Mary attended local schools, and with her family she attended Wealthy Street Baptist Church. It was while she was growing up that she learned to sew, and sewing quickly became one of her favorite activities. Mary went on to graduate from Central High School.
Throughout her life Mary treasured nothing more than her family. There was nothing that made her more proud than being a mother to her son, Rich Dawson, who was born in 1967. Mary’s skills in the kitchen were fantastic, which was something her family truly appreciated. Among her most well loved meals were her meat and potatoes. Later in life, Mary was thrilled to become a grandmother to her two grandchildren, Molly and Reily, and they were her most cherished possession.
In addition to caring for her family, Mary worked outside of the home. She spent time working as a secretary for WZZM TV 13. From there she spent 30 years working at the Keebler Cookie Company on 28th Street. During her retirement years, Mary had the time of her life on a European trip in 2015. In her free time she enjoyed sewing and doing embroidery.
A dear woman to everyone she met, Mary Beck was a blessing to all who were near. Although life wasn’t always easy, she remained positive and cheerful no matter what came her way. Mary was a loving wife and mother, but she just might have argued that nothing was better than becoming a grandmother later in life. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed.
Mary Lou Beck, of Grand Rapids, MI. Loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend died at St. Mary's Hospital on December 28, 2017. Mary was born in Grand Rapids on March 12, 1943 to the late George and Inga (Bing) Bowman. She was also preceded in death by her brother Robert Bowman and her sister Gladys Bowman. Mary is survived by her husband, John Beck of Grand Rapids; son, Rich (Tracy) Dawson of Green Cove Springs, FL; grandchildren, Molly Dawson of Winter Springs, FL and Reily Dawson of Green Cove Springs, FL. Also surviving are her sisters and brothers, Avis Guyot of Grand Rapids, David (Nancy) Bowman of Rockford, Delores Fingleton of Grand Rapids, Jerry Bowman of Grand Rapids; and many nieces and nephews. A memorial service to celebrate Mary's life will be held on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at 1 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW. Friends may visit with Mary's family beginning at Noon. According to her wishes, cremation has taken place.