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Rockford Alderman, Activist John Beck Has Died

Rockford alderman and community activist John Beck has died.

The 57-year-old Republican represented the city’s 12th ward since 2001. He worked for the Rockford Park District as its Arts, Events, and Recreation Project Manager for the past 13 years.

Beck also was known as a champion of accessibility and defender of the Americans With Disabilities Act. He served for 22 years as Development Director for RAMP, a Rockford-based organization offering services and advocacy for people with disabilities. He was a founding member of the Rockford Chariots wheelchair basketball association. And according to a news release from the Rockford Park District, Beck conducted assessments throughout the district “to insure the inclusion of people with disabilities in parks and recreation.”

Rockford Park District Executive Director Jay Sandine said the “park district family” is heartbroken. “We will miss his quality service and we will miss his smile,” he wrote. “One thing we will not miss is his spirit and memory because those will live on forever. He was a legend and a friend. We thank and cherish him for all that he gave and all that he taught us. God bless our brother John.”

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said, “John was a dedicated community servant, a leader on our City Council and my friend. It’s hard to overstate the impact he has made on our community and on me personally.” McNamara called Beck’s death a tremendous loss to the community. “He was intelligent, thoughtful and funny, and he genuinely cared about the people he served, both at the park district and as an alderman.”

Beck also served for a decade as a board member of the Rockford Area Arts Council and the Edgewater Neighborhood Association.

Details surrounding Beck’s death are not available at this time. He is survived by his wife Sandra.