Dr. Alan Beck
Dr. Alan Edward Beck, Professor Emeritus of Geophysics at Western University, passed away peacefully on December 1st, 2020 at his home in London, Ontario.
Alan was born January 27th 1928 in London, England. He met Julia Langley, the love of his life, at Australia National University where he did his PhD. They married in Sydney, Australia in 1955, and raised three children, starting in England then moving to Canada with trips back to Australia. He and Julia shared a love of music, good food and wine, rocks and nature, travel and reaching out to others. He proudly helped Julia with her devotion to preserving London’s heritage buildings. He had a positive outlook on life, a wonderful dry wit and both kind and stubborn streaks which shone through to the end.
Alan was Head of the Department of Geophysics (now Earth Sciences) at Western from 1963 to his retirement in 1993; faculty, staff and students were frequent guests at Alan and Julia’s homes. His lifelong scientific interest in heat flow, the thermal state of the Earth, led to invitations to speak around the world; more than professional, it flowed into his passion for measuring and recording temperatures and other data in his personal life. He was the 1993 winner of the J. Tuzo Wilson Medal, as well as the author of a text 'Physical Principles of Exploration Methods' and numerous other publications.
Alan was predeceased by Julia in 2012, as well as his brothers John and Ronald. He is lovingly remembered by his children Helen (Michael) of Ottawa, James (Aija) of London and Graham (Maria) of Perth, brother Harold (in England) and sister Mary (in Victoria). Dear grandfather of Ian (Chelsea), Ross and David, Emmanuel and Hannah (Casey), and great-grandfather of Harper, Clara, Evelyn and Finley.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, on Wednesday December 9th, 2020, there will be a drive-by visitation from 3-4 pm at 39 Carfrae Street; we suggest driving east from Ridout to Richmond Street. Only immediate family will attend the interment at Mount Pleasant Cemetery (cremation has already taken place).
In lieu of flowers, donations could be sent to Western University designated for the Julia and Alan Beck Scholarship Fund for geophysics or a to charity of your choice.
December 5, 2020, 7:15 pm
My condolences to the Beck family. Dr. Beck was a wise, patient and kind thesis supervisor to me in the 1980s. My brief interactions with him I since then, always left me I impressed that he seemed to know what I was up to professionally. I enjoyed a few pleasant evenings at the Beck home and at their country place near Durham (as I recall). I was honoured to be able to learn from him.
December 5, 2020, 8:51 am
James, on behalf of the entire London IBM team, I wish to express our sincere condolences to you and your extended family.
December 5, 2020, 3:34 pm
My heart felt condolences to prof. Beck, who was my professor and thesis supervisor at Western.
The international Heat Flow community is in the process of
setting up a special issue of the International Journal of
Terrestrial Heat Flow and Applied Geothermics - IJTHFA,
in memory of Prof. Beck, to be published April, 2021.
December 5, 2020, 10:22 pm
So sorry to hear that Alan Beck has passed away. I was a student
of his in the 1960s and have wonderful memories of several
summers spent camped with the Beck family in Algonquin Park
at the Brent Crater. At dusk we would sit and listen to the wolves
calling along the hills of the crater rim. My condolences to all of
the Beck family.
Anne Lausch and Barry Trower
December 9, 2020, 11:48 am
Our condolences to the family. We met Alan and Julia Beck in 1998, when we bought their house on Cromwell Street. The Becks were very kind to us and eager to show us the various features and idiosyncrasies of the house. Before the closing date, they invited us and our young children for a barbecue in the backyard to give us a chance to look at everything again and ask questions. After we moved we found sticky notes all over the house explaining how things worked. To this day we have several items here that they left behind for us. They seemed to us a remarkable couple and we remember them fondly.
December 9, 2020, 5:46 pm
Dear Helen, Michael and boys,
My sisters – Cydna and Crista – and I were saddened to learn of Alan’s death.
He was always such a steadfast and supportive colleague of our own father, taking on the administrative duties of the Geophysics Department that – frankly – our Dad could not have performed as ably or congenially.
And wonderfully, that support continued in retirement: Alan regularly contacted Dad to remind him of the lunch at Windermere Manor for retired faculty, and – when Dad was no longer able to drive – provided transportation.
The last time I spoke with him was at the visitation prior to Dad’s funeral.
Steadfast and gracious indeed.
We hope that in the weeks ahead, in the company of those who knew and loved Alan, you will be able to give and receive comfort and learn of the esteem with which he was held.
With kind regards, Calum Carmichael
Patti and Terry Maurice
December 19, 2020, 4:30 pm
We were saddened to learn of Alan’s death. We met Julia and Alan when they purchased Carfrae Cottage from us. On the day we signed the purchase papers they showed up with a bottle of wine and we sat in the dining room of their soon-to-be home and toasted to the new chapters in our lives. It was such a lovely way to hand over ownership of a cottage we loved.. We kept in touch over the years since with occasional emails and seasonal greetings. They will be missed. Our condolences to the family.
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