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About Jacob Wendell Beck

About the author: Jacob Wendell Beck (April 4, 1912 — December 12, 2004). Presbyterian Minister. Chaplain in the U.S. Army. From his obituary in the Corvalis Gazette-Times, December 14, 2004:

Jacob Wendell Beck was born to William Horace and Lois Olive Beck in Ong, Neb. After graduating from Ong High School, he attended Hastings College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. He earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary and then attended Chaplain School at Harvard University.

Wendell was a Presbyterian Minister for 67 years. He served churches throughout California and Oregon. His main pastorates were in Ivanhoe, Berkeley, Fowler, Redlands and Encino, Calif.

After retiring, he continued to serve and was an interim pastor 17 times in congregations in California and Oregon. He last preached in July 2004.

In 1954, he served as one of 14 Presbyterian delegates to the second assembly of the World Council of Churches in Evanston, Ill. Following that, he served on the council’s American Committee for six years.

While serving as minister in Fowler, Calif., he enlisted in the Army and served as a chaplain during World War II. He served on three different troop ships in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. He also served during the Korean War and was awarded two Bronze Stars and the Korean Silver Star.

In Korea, he served in the Third Infantry Division, the same division in which his grandfather served during the siege of Vicksburg in the Civil War. He wrote a book, “Land of Morning Calm: A Chaplain Remembers,” recounting his experiences in Korea. Wendell also kept diaries of his service aboard ships during World War II.

Wendell was always active in civic groups and service organizations where ever he lived. His favorite club was a group of approximately 16 professional men in Fowler, Calif., called the Friday Evening Club.

Wendell’s number one interest was golf. One of his greatest joys was playing the old course at St. Andrews, Scotland, in 1984. He loved to sing and began at an early age. He would often sing duets with his brother, Fred, while milking cows on their family’s farm in Nebraska. He was in many musicals and plays in high school and choral groups in college and seminary.

Books and music were very important to Wendell, and he was a prolific writer of poetry and songs. One of his songs was written about his wife, Martha.

He loved to travel. Wendell and Martha circled the United States twice. They visited several areas many times, including eight to 10 visits to Yellowstone, a favorite destination. Cards and games of all sorts were frequent pastimes. He was also a wonderful gardener. Roses were his specialty.

Wendell loved spending time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He loved having his favorite dog, Kelly, by his side.

Wendell is survived by his wife, Martha; daughter, Gwynethe Durandt; son, Robert, his wife, Ann, and daughter-in-law, Kathy; stepdaughters and their husbands, Judy and Bill, and Lexey and John; grandchildren and their spouses, Vern and Cathy, Bruce, Lisa and Chris, Beth and Dan, Sheri and Matt, Laura, Aaron and Christine, Tom, and Chris and Andrew; and great-grandchildren, Jeremy, Brendan, Katelyn, Chris, Jeffery, Madeline, Ben, Meghan and Alexis.

He was preceded in death by his parents; siblings, Howard, Myron, Frederick and Esther; grandson, David; and most recently by his son, Royce.

Wendell was a patient, kind, giving, loving, witty and gentle man. He was a gentleman who most of all loved the church…

About the diary: Located in the Jacob Wendell Beck Collection of the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress, as Journal of Jacob Wendell Beck [9/21/1945 to 5/7/1946]. The Philippine Diary Project contains only the portion of his diary concerning a voyage to and from the Philippines, identified as “Trip #1. September 21, November 9 ’45. San Francisco to Manila, to Okinawa, to Manila, to Portland.” That is, from Day 16, October 7, 1945 to Day 21, October 12, 1945 and from Day 29, October 20, 1945 to Day 33, October 24, 1945.