Samuel Franklin (Sam) Beck passed away on Friday, March 12th, just one day prior to his 89th birthday. Sam was born March 13, 1932, in the East Fork community of Jackson County. He was the son of John Candler and Margaret Buchanan Beck.
Sam served four years in the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command and was stationed in Omaha, Nebraska, and French Morocco. He worked 15 years at The Sylva Herald and later managed the printing facility at Western Carolina University. He retired in 1996 after 26 years at WCU.
After retirement, Sam built a workshop and became a very skillful woodworker. He enjoyed building furniture and built shelving for his church library, as well as furniture for his home and for friends and family. He was a perfectionist and had the ability to look at a photo of a piece of furniture then build it.
Sam was a member of First Baptist Church of Sylva and was ordained a deacon in 1958. He was a volunteer fireman with the Sylva Fire Department for 38 years and served as fire chief for a number of years. He taught fire service training classes through the Department of Community Colleges. Sam also volunteered with a community group that built ramps for the elderly and handicapped. He worked on several Habitat for Humanity houses and helped winterize and repair homes through Neighbors in Need.
Sam became part of a group who regularly hiked the mountains of Western North Carolina. This was his favorite activity because of the exercise and the fellowship. At age 83, Sam hiked to the top of Mount Sterling in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Sam is survived by his wife of over 67 years, Dorris Lucille Dills Beck, his daughters Susan Beck and Teresa Beck Brittain (Ray Brittain), and his grandchildren, Samantha Jones, Andrew Brittain, and Christopher Brittain. He was preceded in death by his siblings: Clarence, Gene, and Johnny Ray Beck, Jeston Frady, and Jessie Mae Webb.
The family thanks the staff of Four Seasons Hospice and The Hermitage for the excellent care they provided Sam in his final days and weeks.
Friends may pay their respects on Sunday, March 14th , 11 am – 3 pm, at Appalachian Funeral Services. No family will be present. There will be a private family service on Monday in the chapel at Appalachian. Burial will be at noon on Monday at Fairview Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions be sent to the Sylva Fire Department or First Baptist Church of Sylva.