Gwendolyn Geraldine Purdy Beck

(Nov. 22, 1917 - Dec. 27, 2018)


Gwendolyn Geraldine Purdy Beck, 101, of Powell, died on Dec. 27, 2018, at the Spirit Mountain Hospice House in Cody. 

She was born Nov. 22, 1917, in Hildreth, Nebraska, and was 101 years old. She was the daughter of Francis William and Gretchen E. Weinstock Purdy. Gwen was one of five children, having two brothers and two sisters. 

She and her two sisters sang as a trio in their school years. They sang for many anniversaries, birthdays, funerals, amateur programs, and for the governor of Nebraska. During a family vacation in Sheridan, the girls gave a 15 minute program over the Sheridan radio station. They also sang with their brother Francis’ dance band.

Gwen met and married Cecil Henry Beck who had come to Hildreth to teach and coach.  They were married Aug. 15, 1937, and were married for 54 years. Cec taught in Hemmingford, Nebraska, for six months and in Yoder, Wyoming, for six months.  They moved to Wheatland, Wyoming, where he taught for nine years. In 1947 they moved to Powell where Cec taught Industrial Arts in the Powell High School.

Gwen taught piano until 1955 when she joined the Powell Elementary faculty. She taught third grade for 22 years and second grade for two years at Parkside. Gwen always focused on her students as well as her own family.

Gwen received her college education at Northwest Community College, Kearney State College in Nebraska, University of Wyoming, Guadalajara, Jal, Mexico, and her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education at Eastern Montana College of Education.

She loved to paint, draw, crochet, knit, and do crafts.  She loved all sports with tennis and bowling at the top of the list.  She was inducted into the Powell Women’s Bowling Association Hall of Fame in 1989. Gwen was a true Nebraska Cornhuskers football fan watching every game she could. Gwen enjoyed working at the Crosswalk Christian Library and she was one of the original board members. Gwen also taught Sunday School, directed Junior Choir, and sang in Senior Choir for a number of years. She loved to teach the children about Jesus. 

She also taught many adult Bible studies. Gwen’s wonderful sense of humor helped her maintain a positive attitude.  She will be greatly missed by her family and friends. 

Gwen was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Cecil, sister Gretchen Johnson, and brothers Francis and James Purdy.

Survivors include her two sons, Cecil P. (Biff) Beck and wife Linda of Cody, Craig H. Beck and wife Hilma (Lou) of Riverton, sister Clarice Shuck of Thousand Oaks, California, and niece Marilyn Brastrup; grandchildren Beau Beck, Denra Tidball (Sean), Tara Posey (Ken), Clarissa Hurst, Laura Taylor (Stephen), and Rachel Depew (Sam); six great-grandchildren: Skyler, Christopher, Katelyn, Kyle, Keri, Gunnar and Xander. She is also survived by two great-great-grandsons, Riley and Reed.

Funeral services will be Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 11 a.m. at New Life Church in Powell, with procession to follow at Crown Hill Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to New Life Church of Powell or a charity of choice.