Author Topic: Dan Beck  (Read 468 times)

SherryHall

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Dan Beck
« on: August 12, 2020, 03:53:16 PM »
I received word from friends that Dan Beck passed away last Thursday, August 8.  Dan was a successful debater at the University of Kansas,  who will be missed by a lot of people.  I will miss his beautiful photography on his facebook page.  Here is the link to his obit.

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/kansas/obituary.aspx?n=robert-daniel-beck-dan&pid=196613514&fbclid=IwAR1AJIgKMc3T_OywUxVRZwzCXkcBvGixJlBicdlIA0e1-rDYkjik8J3PhAI

 Beck, Robert Daniel "Dan" 71, passed away early Thursday morning of an apparent heart attack. Dan Beck was the ultimate free spirit and a true Renaissance man. Excelling at debate, he attended the University of Kansas on a debate scholarship and twice competed in the last rounds of the National Championship. After college, he was a co-captain of the U.S. International Debate Team and toured the British Isles, becoming the champion of debate in Scotland. He remained in Europe, working and living in Amsterdam and exploring Europe by train and hitchhiking. He eventually moved to Wichita where he gave back 7 years to debate as the volunteer coach at Wichita East. He mentored scores of students from across the state and the country. Dan then embarked on artistic pursuits, sculpting, painting over 2000 paintings, and installing tons of limestone, sculpture and flowers in his yard. This folk art is documented in 'Grassroots Artists of Kansas' and the PBS documentary 'Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations.' He continued working with young people in the 5th Grade Sculpture Project. His love of rocks led him to become a jade carver and collector, especially of 'wearable sculpture.' He enjoyed encouraging new carvers by buying their early work. Dan leaves his wife and traveling companion of 47 years, Chris Poelma, her sister Susan, his brothers Bill and Randy and their families, numerous 'debate children and grandchildren,' friends, fellow artists, and collectors from around the world. You are invited to celebrate his life artistically! Donations in his name can be made to University of Kansas Debate. KU Debate Heritage Fund (40106)

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.



SherryHall

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Re: Dan Beck
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2020, 03:54:56 PM »
From: Charles Krauss
 
The world lost a literal and figurative giant of a person last Thursday and for those who were lucky enough to know him, we also lost a local deity in our lives. Dan Beck was easily one of, if not THE, most generous, knowledgeable, humorous, artistic, and mischievous people that I’ve ever had the pleasure of spending time with. Dan was one of the greatest debaters in the illustrious history of the University of Kansas and was a debate and forensics coach at Wichita East High School throughout much of the 1980s. As a volunteer, he probably gave thousands of hours of his life during that time, teaching eager high school students such as myself how to debate and how to analyze arguments.
Both Dan and his wife Chris were always there for us for both debate and non-debate considerations and were mentors to many of us during our most formative years. From administering multi page written debate finals that would have frightened the uninitiated to death, to being able to crack up an entire room of people with nothing more than a look, to teaching us about the fallacy known as post hoc ergo propter hoc (a lesson that continues to pay dividends as we analyze the lies that some of our politicians try to tell us), to helping out a student with a lunch or a ride home after a late night debate tournament, Dan was everything that debaters hope that a coach and a person should be. Dan and Chris basically helped create a surrogate family at East during the 1980s, where we spent many hours working on debate but where we also spent many hours hanging out, having fun, playing chess, and learning about life.
Dan was also a great and prolific artist, sculptor, jewelry-maker, and “home improvement specialist”. He painted several thousand paintings over the years and had several exhibits/art shows. He also was a talented jade sculptor and by “home improvement specialist”, I mean that Dan and Chris created one of the most interesting and unique homes in Wichita, in terms of the interior decorated by their art, the exterior with an amazing paint job, and the yard, which contains tons of limestone rock that they brought in for creation a great pond and other artistic structures. Their home has been the subject of a television documentary and multiple tours over the years. Most importantly, it has always been a warm and welcoming place to anyone who has visited.
Rest in peace, Dan and thanks to you and Chris for everything. Dan was a huge influence on anyone who spent time with him and that influence will continue to carry on. Chris, our hearts go out to you.

SherryHall

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Re: Dan Beck
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2020, 03:56:29 PM »
From: Rachelle Johnson Hallowell
 
. I was saddened when I read this. You and Dan Beck
 have been such great friends of mine through the years.
I even thought about going to see you.
Now every time I wear or see a tye dye I will think of Dan and you.
Lots of  love!
You will be missed!

SherryHall

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Re: Dan Beck
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2020, 03:57:38 PM »
From: Chris Poelma
 
Dan left us early Thursday morning with an apparent heart attack. He loved us all and left a wonderful legacy of art, debate, jade and flowers. It still doesn't seem real. The love of my life! What a talent, What an intellect, What a Man!!!

SherryHall

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Re: Dan Beck
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2020, 04:00:04 PM »
From: Amy Baker
 
Coach...mentor...friend...family. Grateful to have shared my journey with you for 38 years... selfishly, it was not enough. In a black white and gray world you saw the rainbow. In a pile of gravel you saw the opals. You pollinated the souls of everyone you met with an artist’s brush. I love you, I shall miss you. I shall think of you waggling your eyebrows and singing along to Desmond Dekker.... because you would not want us to be overly maudlin. Rest well Dan, rest well. 💔😭

SherryHall

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Re: Dan Beck
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2020, 11:25:20 AM »
From: Joshua Zive

Dan was an artist and a KU debate legend. For folks on here that didn't know Dan Beck: First, that is a pity, he was one of a kind. Second, here is nice tribute from Stephen Ellis
OU coach and also a KU legend. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2727815914155430&id=100007811433852

SherryHall

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Re: Dan Beck
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2020, 11:26:44 AM »
From: Stephen Ellis

My friend Dan Beck just passed away yesterday. As you go about your week, please spare a thought for him, Chris Poelma, and all of his many friends.
I knew Dan first as a HS Debate Coach (technically, I think he was the "Rhetorician in Residence" at Wichita East - he always preferred his own titles), but then as a KU Debate Hall-of-Famer, and then as a fellow KU "ghost" (that's what we called debate alumni when I was a debater at KU). It's been a few years since I saw him in person, but one of the joys of social media is reconnecting, even from a distance.
He was more locally famous around Wichita as an artist than a debater, of course. See some of his architectural art here: http://spacesarchives.org/explore/search-the-online-collection/dan-beck-environment-and-gardens/gallery/
Dan touched a lot of lives in my community of awkward HS kids and I'm grateful that he helped us become successful, somewhat-less-awkward adults. Only one slice of his life I know, but I'm eternally thankful for the positive attention.

SherryHall

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Re: Dan Beck
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2020, 11:27:37 AM »
From: Steve Dargitz

He was one of our favorite coaches.

SherryHall

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Re: Dan Beck
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2020, 11:28:15 AM »
From: Chuck Macomber

Well put, Steve. He had an outsized influence on me as a high school kid. It was such a positive experience watching Dan and Chris live their life together with a different agenda than I knew growing up. It weighs in my heart now, the passing of Dan. My deepest thoughts of sympathy to Chris and all those who cherished Dan. His influence spreads well beyond the viewable horizon.

SherryHall

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Re: Dan Beck
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2020, 11:28:49 AM »
From: Kevin Breer

Well said Steve and Chuck. Dan was unlike any person I had ever run across in my pretty-sheltered life until that point. He was intense, smart but also funny and friendly. I don't really think I can think of a debate coach from another school that was as influential on our teams, just by hanging out, talking about life and providing a good example to us.

SherryHall

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Re: Dan Beck
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2020, 11:29:24 AM »
From: Chris Edmonds

Thanks for posting this Steve. Dan was larger than life and one of my real mentors as a high school debater and student. I still have a note he gave me my senior year in high school about the importance of enjoying what you do and having fun in life. He was a remarkable debate mind but, more importantly, a wonderful person.
His legacy lives on. My daughter debated with a current Wichita East debater at the Jayhawk Debate Institute and we stopped through Wichita on the way to Colorado a couple of weeks ago for the two of them to meet (camp was virtual). I was talking to Kate and her dad about Kansas debate and the importance of Wichita East in my debate and high school history. They both immediately talked about Dan and his contributions to generations before her. . .His influence was remarkable.
I am just sorry I didnt have a chance to tell him that story in person. Rest in peace, my friend. You're influence lives on and is with me nearly every day. And, Godspeed, Chris Poelma
...you were both so gracious with with your time and energy!

SherryHall

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Re: Dan Beck
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2020, 11:30:01 AM »
From: Stephen Ellis

At the last KU Debate Camp (aka Jayhawk Debate Institute) I worked, Dan was on staff too. We decided - as a staff - that we needed to be a Union shop so we founded the International Association of Debate Workers of the World (IADWW). [Did this have something to do with that being the last time I worked the Camp? Unfortunately, the records seem lost on that issue.] We elected Dan as the "Sergeant at Arms" but he made the Union Cards and preferred the title "Scab Poacher." Dan in a nutshell ...
George Lopez
- you kept your IADWW card for a long time. Still have it? Valuable art.

SherryHall

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Re: Dan Beck
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2020, 11:30:28 AM »
From: Cindy Ewy Thompson

As I have reflected on Dan’s influence on my life I realized that he was the one debate coach I remember taking time to talk with me about life. He let on when we connected on Facebook that he knew the misogyny I faced from “he who shall not be named” and tried to keep an eye out for me. There is a big Dan Beck imprint on my life.

SherryHall

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Re: Dan Beck
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2020, 11:31:06 AM »
From: Thomas H. Padgett Jr.

May perpetual light shine upon his soul.

SherryHall

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Re: Dan Beck
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2020, 09:04:29 AM »
From Scott Harris:



Dear Debate Family,

 

I am very sad to report that a KU debate legend, Dan Beck, has passed away. Dan was a great debater and person and one of the most iconic figures in the history of KU Debate. Along with his partner Robert Prentice he was a two time semifinalist at the NDT in 1970 and 1971. Dan was always very committed to KU debate. He joined us in the Zoom reunion for the 70's just a few weeks ago. Our condolences go out to Chris and the rest of his family and friends. He will be sorely missed.