|Robert L Beck: |
Book Man, Cub Fan
He was one of those men who epitomized the grit and good nature of the boys of "the greatest generation."
Growing up during the Great Depression, Beck left to serve in the Coast Guard during the Second World War, returned home, began a family and started a small bookstore on a shoestring.
He persevered with Beck's Books until it became a major success and something of a Chicago institution, with 10 locations and several hundred employees so far over its 57 years.
According to the Chicago Tribune's obituary, he had only one major flaw. He was obsessed with and devoted to the Chicago Cubs.
We've endlessly heard the jokes about the Cubs having a bad century and so forth. But I don't believe I've ever seen the futility of being a Cub fan expressed so poignantly as it was in Beck's Tribune obit.
It said (and I am not making this up):
"Having lived only 91 years, he missed seeing the Cubs in a World Series."
Some scientists, however, are now predicting that life spans for humans born today could reach as long as 1,000 years, due to breakthroughs in molecular biology.
That would seem to be a possibly favorable sign for future generations of Cub fans.
Here is the late Steve Goodman singing his famous "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request" atop one of the Wrigley Field rooftops:
According to his obituary, Mr. Beck's funereal arrangements were handled by the Cremation Society of Illinois.
No word on where the ashes will be strewn.