FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Jim Beck

Jul 26, 2017 By Frank Merrick


FIRST Robotics Competition Regional Director Jim Beck


I have some very sad news to share. Jim Beck, long-time FIRST Regional Director in California, passed away Saturday, 7/22, after a battle with cancer. Jim passed at his home surrounded by his family.

Jim was a member of the FIRST family for over 14 years. He had a hearty, outsized personality and truly loved his teams. And his teams loved him back! Jim took special pleasure in seeing his teams make it to the highest levels of competition, which they often did. Along with continuously growing the number of teams in California over the years, Jim was instrumental in recruiting and training new Regional Directors to ensure that FIRST’s outstanding legacy in that state will continue.

Jim’s hard work helped thousands of young people be the best they could be, and through them, his legacy will live on. Jim was the best of FIRST, a true icon in the community, and will be missed.

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Jim Beck was the first FIRST regional director I met. He guided with a soft hand and inspired with a huge smile. I will remember him fondly.

Jim Beck FIRST Robotics champion has left to be with the angels.  Jim is the reason Team 3925 is where we are and why I love FIRST so much. Thank you, Jim, for sharing your passion. We will keep on to honor your legacy!

I met Jim in Atlanta many years ago when i started volunteering for FIRST. He always had a smile and took time to tell you thanks for what you did. He was always so pumped for his California teams! He made it a point to go to the field to see as many of the teams compete. No matter what was going on in his life he put it aside when it came to the event. FIRST is like a homecoming where you get to see friends you dearly enjoy being with a couple times a year. I will miss seeing Jim, he was one of the folks I always looked forward to seeing. Jim will live on in the great efforts he put into the California FIRST groups.

I had the pleasure of meeting Jim Beck in 2006 when he was Western Regional Director of the FIRST program.  I was a new Oregon FIRST Robotics Regional Tournament Volunteer Coordinator and I considered him a wealth of knowledge, a mentor and an honorable man.  I conversed with him over the phone 4-5 times since then, learned of his medical difficulties and of his indominable will in putting them off because of his strong interest in working with STEM education students.  He never ever ever gave up!  Jim represented and did that which I wished to achieve.  I am saddened that I am unable to finish telling him that the project I started, while he was alive, of giving STEM alumni a view of incrementally improving the American food bank system, through the Painted Rock Initiative, has made the progress that it has.  A quality of Jim was that he never doubted in me, as it was so easy for me to never doubt in him.  Jim will be missed by me, as I am sure he is by so many…  Thank you for practicing Gracious Professionalism before it had it’s official name!  May you rest in peace!

David Porter

FRC Oregon team Coach/Oregon Regional Tournament Volunteer Coordinator/Distict and Regional Judge/District Robot Inspector, Lead Robot Inspector

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