James (Jim) E. Beck

James (Jim) Edgar Beck, 71, passed away January 4, 2022 in Founders Crest care center in Wichita, Kansas. 

He was born June 26, 1950 in Enid, Oklahoma to Audrey (Yager) Beck and James (Jim) Paul Beck.

He was a 1968 graduate of Arkansas City High School, a 1972 graduate of Emporia State University, and a 1995 graduate of the Boulder Graduate School of Banking. He served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard for six years. He was united in marriage to Susan Stutzman on August 20, 1972 in Viola, Kansas.

They made a home in Arkansas City, Kansas until 1978 when Jim accepted the job of purchasing agent at GT in Clay Center, Kansas. In 1982 he accepted a position at Union State Bank where he held the roles of operations officer and vice president for 34 years until his retirement in 2016. In 1976, he and Susan welcomed the birth of their daughter Jill Beck and in 1979, Jamie (Beck) Proffer. Jim became a proud grandfather to Caden Proffer in 2007, traveling with Susan to Istanbul, Turkey for his birth, and Caleb Proffer in 2010.

With the heart of a servant leader, Jim loved to serve the community in a variety of roles including on the boards of the Clay County Arts Council, Clay Center Chamber of Commerce, Clay Center Economic Development Council, Clay Center Carnegie Library, Head Start, and his beloved Clay Center United Methodist Church where he volunteered in numerous roles. Jim thoroughly enjoyed four mission trips to Costa Rica in the early 1980s where he helped construct church buildings. He also served with Susan in Pascagoula, Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina where he helped rebuild homes for victims of the devastation.

Jim enjoyed photography and often displayed his work at various locations throughout Clay Center. He took frequent trips around Clay County to capture the way the evening light falls on rural churches at dusk, snow and ice draped trees after a snowstorm, the brilliantly colored autumn leaves on Frederick Street, blazing red and orange controlled prairie grass fires, poetic abandoned barns, and brilliant summer Kansas sunsets. He saw beauty in most things and had an artistic eye to seize it and he could often be found with his Canon 35mm DSLR camera hung around his neck just waiting for the next opportunity to capture glory.

Another of Jim’s passions was woodworking and carpentry. He installed a woodshop in the basement of his home and masterfully designed and crafted over a dozen pieces of furniture for friends and family over the years. He also did a number of home remodeling projects including finishing basements and building a deck from scratch with his own design.

Jim loved cars and driving fast. In 1992, he purchased a 1977 MGB convertible and enjoyed fully restoring and then zipping around town in it, encouraging others to join along for the ride. For his 60th birthday, he took the opportunity to drive a NASCAR on the track at the motorway in Kansas City, Kansas.

Jim had many other interests... he loved all types of music including the local city band and various artists the Arts Council brought to town over the years. An avid reader, you could often catch him reading Tom Clancy’s or Sue Grafton’s latest thriller. He adored the Kansas State University Women’s Basketball team attending games using his season tickets with Susan and friends. He rode his bicycle to work and around town for many years. He rarely missed television coverage of the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs. He enjoyed traveling around the country with Susan, especially locations where he could use his photography talent or experience adventures such as taking hot air balloon rides and zip lining. The love of his life, second only to Susan (of course), was chocolate. He enjoyed a well-crafted pun, told his share of “dad jokes”, and often used his Donald Duck voice to make little ones giggle.

Survivors include his loving wife, Susan; daughters, Jill and Jamie; son-in-law, Daniel Proffer; grandsons, Caden and Caleb; brother, Richard Beck and his wife Pat; grandniece, Phoebe (Mattingly) Parker and husband Forrest; cousins, Brenda (Barnes) Montoya, Larry Barnes, John Yager, Jeffrey Yager, Jason Yager, and Chuck Proudfoot. 

He was proceeded in death by his parents, Jim and Audrey; and niece, Krista Beck.

Visitation will be Sunday, January 9, 2022 from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. at Neil Schwensen Rook funeral home in Clay Center.

The celebration of life will be Monday, January 10, 2022 at 1:30 pm at Clay Center United Methodist Church followed by burial at Greenwood Cemetery.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the Clay County Arts Council or the Clay Center United Methodist Church.

The family requests masks be worn at the visitation and celebration of life.

Online condolences can be made at www.nsrfh.com.

Paid notice.