Gail Beck

Obituary of Gail Beck

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Gail Beck

Juneau, Alaska formerly of Saginaw Twp.


A favorite family photo of Gail shows her as a young, beaming girl in a blue tutu, posing as a graceful ballerina. It is an early image of whom she was to become - a woman who embraced and enjoyed all that life would bring her way.

Gail grew up in a family of aviators and projectionists in St. Louis, Missouri, where she and her older brother George shared many adventures and many a swim in the Mississippi River. Gail trained to become an elementary teacher and in her early career taught inner-city children in her hometown. Her passion for singing brought her to the Concordia Seminary Singers and the Lutheran Hour Radio Program where she met ministry student Paul Beck, who became the love of her life. The two shared a love of chorale singing and bonded over the meals provided afterwards. Paul was delighted by Gail’s love of food, a passion that would grow throughout their lives and be passed on to their children and grandchildren.

Soon after Paul’s 1952 seminary graduation, the two wed. They found themselves headed north to Gaylord, Michigan to minister to three churches and start their family. After two winters spent in a drafty log cabin, the call took them to Saginaw, a place they would call home for over 60 years.

When the youngest of their four children reached kindergarten, Gail made the decision to return to teaching and accepted a position at Westdale School. At Westdale, she was beloved by both her peers and students, who continued to greet her in the community for decades.

Her summers were consumed by gardening and grandchildren. She loved flowers, and after seeing the premier of the Victory Garden on television, she decided to put in her own vegetable garden. Gail was an incredible gardener, who studied weather patterns and knew all there was to know about her plants. Her vegetables were the most delicious her family had ever eaten. She would take visiting grandchildren out for the morning garden tour, deciding with them what to harvest and eat for the evening meal.

Nearly every winter Paul and Gail would make the long journey to Alaska to enjoy holidays in the far North where all four of their children had settled. Spring brought travels to far off lands for humanitarian causes and university choir tours. Gail visited Japan five different times and loved the culture and landscape which she saw on hikes to many castles and shrines.

Paul and Gail remained steadfastly in love throughout their nearly sixty-year marriage. She missed him so much after he passed in 2012. Gail was very devoted to her family and deeply valued her friends, all of whom appreciated her intrepid nature and quick sense of humor. She was a faithful correspondent to her grandchildren, away at college, sharing weekly missives about the weather and her garden. Her letters were a reassuring and warm connection to family as her grandchildren moved into the world.

Gail made friends everywhere she went. She truly loved people and took time to connect. Friendships were formed in Bible study classes, Detroit Symphony concert trips, bowling and quilting groups, golfing, and cooking classes. Many of these people became lifelong friends.

Her ninth decade brought her to Alaska to live with her family during the pandemic. She continued to make connections in her new home, inspiring new friends with the wisdom of her words and actions.

She lived a long, full life with enjoyment and appreciation for each day. She loved her daily cups of coffee, afternoon tea and cookie, and her evening wine with dinner. In her final years in Alaska, she continued to appreciate all the world’s beauty - the sun on flowers, eagles and ravens in flight, the towering mountains, and the movement of clouds across the sky. In her 95 years Gail experienced many changes, but she always maintained a remarkable adaptability, dancing through her life with joy and grace.

She is predeceased by her parents, George H., Della M. and brother, George Oonk and her husband of 59 years Paul R. Beck. Gail's finest garden was her family.  She is survived by her four offspring; Rachel (John), Paul (Linda), Peter (Lisa) and Greg (Aysha); her ten offshoots (grandchildren): Jacob, Leah, Anna, Lacey, Sadie, Nikki, Jessie, Gus, Manon and Alana; and eight seedlings (great grandchildren): Teaka, Xandor, Luke, Patrick, Cassandra, Nyree, Phthalo and Teddy.

She was grateful to those who helped in her care including Tony, Shari, Mary Ann, Ligia, Corazon and Elizabeth.

SERVICE: A Memorial Service to celebrate Gail will be held at 1:00 p.m. Monday, August 7, 2023 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 5335 Brockway Road, Saginaw MI 48638. Rev. Paul Biber and Deacon Jeff Rauschert will co-officiate.

MEMORIALS: Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider a donation to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. Please share your thoughts and memories with the family at the church or through

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Memorial Service

1:00 pm
Monday, August 7, 2023
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
5335 Brockway Road
Saginaw, Michigan, United States
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Gail Beck

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