Mark Thomas Beck, Lt. Col. U.S.M.C. (ret'd), of Lansing, Kansas, died on June 1, 2018.
Mark Thomas Beck, Lt. Col. U.S.M.C. (ret’d), of Lansing, Kansas, died on June 1, 2018. Mark had a distinguished career as a Marine aviator, but will be best remembered as a loving and devoted husband and father and a cherished brother and son.
Mark was born on Sept. 6, 1949 at what is now known as the Naval Air Weapons Station – China Lake, Inyokern, California. He was the third child of the late Donald M. Beck and Ruth G. Beck. He grew up as a “military brat” living in California, Indiana, Iowa, Virginia and Hawaii.
Mark graduated from Quantico High School, at the Quantico, Virginia Marine Base in 1967 and accepted an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. In addition to being a good student, Mark was a strong swimmer and excelled as a distance runner. While at the Naval Academy, Mark served as a Midshipman Company Commander. He received a Bachelor of Science degree upon graduation from the Academy in 1971 and was commissioned a 2d lieutenant in the Marine Corps. Mark was selected for flight training, earning his Naval Aviator wings in March 1973.
During his Marine Corps career, Mark enjoyed a number of challenging tours, including a three year assignment with HMX-1, the Presidential Helicopter Squadron. He was appointed to the White House Liaison Office, and had the honor of flying both Presidents Carter and Reagan. He flew Nancy Reagan from Paris to Normandy to commemorate the D-Day landing and transported Great Britain’s Prince Charles while the Prince was on a diplomatic mission to the U.S.
Mark was an instructor at the Army Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, and while there, earned his Master’s in Management from Webster University. As a Lt. Col., Mark commanded Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 for 18 months.
On Aug. 17, 1991, Mark married the former Marta Knight in the Memorial Chapel, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. Upon retirement from the Marine Corps in August 1993, Mark and Marta settled in Lansing, Kansas. He began a second career as a Farmers Insurance Agent, successfully growing and managing that business until his retirement in 2010.
Mark was an accomplished artist, historian, genealogist, gardener, and home repairman. His organizational abilities were unparalleled, although he camouflaged them with his low-key manner and modesty.
Mark is survived by his wife, Marta, son, Matthew (Amanda), daughter, Adriane (Eric), two grandchildren, siblings, Barry (Mary), Jane (Bo), Linda (Lon).
Funeral services will be held at the Leavenworth National Cemetery at a later date.