ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford Alderman John Beck passed away on Sunday at Van Matre Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital. Beck spent 19 years serving as the City’s 12th Ward Alderman since he was elected in 2001. He was 57.
The City of Rockford and the Rockford Park District shared the tragic news on Sunday afternoon.
“John was a dedicated community servant, a leader on our City Council and my friend. It’s hard to overstate the impact he has made on our community and on me personally,” says Mayor Tom McNamara. “He was intelligent, thoughtful and funny, and he genuinely cared about the people he served, both at the park district and as an alderman. I’m stunned and saddened by his passing. I join his family, friends, constituents and coworkers who are mourning this tremendous loss to our community.” Beck was also a key leader in the Edgewater Neighborhood Association tirelessly devoting himself to better the community he lived in through communication and collaboration.
The passing of Beck comes as a shock to many city leaders. In addition to his dedication as a city alderman, Beck also worked for the Rockford Park District.
“Our park district family is heartbroken over the news of John Beck’s passing. John couldn’t wait to come to work and serve his community and he did so with relentless passion and consistency for more than a decade,” said Rockford Park District Executive Director Jay Sandine. “He specialized in working with people from all backgrounds through his many events and programs including the annual Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition, Festival of Lights, and Music in the Parks. John will also leave a legacy as a champion of accessibility for thousands of children and adults as an expert and leader in the advancement of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We will miss his quality service and we will miss his smile. One thing we will not miss is his spirit and memory because those will live on forever. He was a legend and a friend. We thank and cherish him for all that he gave and all that he taught us. God bless our brother John.”
The Rockford Park District shared some of Beck’s career highlights:
- Managed the production of special events throughout the District including Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition, Sinnissippi Music Shell programming, and Tribute to Veterans
- Served as Rockford Park District liaison supporting community events such as Festival of Lights, Juneteenth, and others at Sinnissippi Park
- Worked from beginning to end seeing through the project of the Davey Johnson Accessible Fishing Pier
- Conducted physical and programmatic assessments throughout the District to insure the inclusion of people with disabilities in parks and recreation
- Monitored, trained, advocated, and worked cooperatively to implement the District’s universal design program
- Founding member of the Rockford Chariots wheelchair basketball association. John helped form an adult wheelchair basketball team which then inspired youth to form a junior wheelchair basketball team with the Rockford Park District.
Beck had reportedly been in poor health and was not present at recent city council meetings.
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