Monday, December 22, 2014

Malcolm Beck set the standard

I was spoiled right off when I started my professional writing career.
One of my first assignments was to cover American Fork City which meant I was to attend City Council meetings and write about what went on there.
I found meetings run with serious purpose and tightly organized so as to end each time at 9 p.m. There was even a little alarm clock that started ringing right at 9 so no one could say they didn't know it was time to stop talking.
It wasn't until later I discovered that was NOT the usual standard. (Sometimes, in meetings in Orem and Provo, you were wise to bring lunch and a pillow.)
Mayor Malcolm H Beck was the reason things went as they did.
He didn't mess around.
He worked with an agenda. He knew what was coming, what needed to happen and he had usually sorted out any potential troubles way ahead of the meeting.
But he didn't do things in secret, never had executive sessions and would always take a reporter's phone calls.
Over the years, I dealt with him on a number of levels; as the mayor, as a county commissioner, as a reliable source on just about anything.
Often, when Marc and I ran into he and his wife at the grocery store or an event, he would say, "Call me, I have a story for you!"
And he always did, something he knew about that needed addressing or the light shone upon it.
He was a treasure trove of information, candid and honest. He was very good at getting his way.
He talked to everybody.
He listened to everybody.
He often made people mad because he never beat around the bush.
He laid things right out.
Today is his funeral.
I read through his obituary Saturday and it's impressive even though I already knew most of what he's accomplished in his life.
I didn't know he was a twin.
I did know he'd been on the hospital board and involved in numerous civic organizations. I knew he'd made a difference with his life.
I knew he was a good guy, a guy who cared deeply about his family, this city and its people.
We were lucky to have him.
Marc and I consider ourselves lucky to have known him well.
We will miss him around here.

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