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Margaret Julia Beck

Obituary for Margaret Julia Beck

November 7, 2017
San Antonio, Texas


Surrounded by those who loved her most in this world, and trusting in the merciful grace of God, Margaret Julia "Peggy" (McDevitt) Beck entered into her eternal reward on Tuesday, November 7 in San Antonio, Texas.

Peggy celebrated 50 years of marriage to her beloved husband Tom last December, and celebrated her 70th birthday in July. These milestones were special moments in a life filled with love, laughter, joy, faith, and a fair share of adventures. A talented seamstress, quilter, artist, baker, singer, pianist, gardener, and chef, Peggy's life was ever one of creativity, bringing beauty and joy to the world in countless ways. Her gift for hospitality was legendary – her arms always open for a warm embrace, and her home always open for a warm welcome. Peggy was an adoring mother to her three girls, but a Mom to all. Her loss will be deeply felt by everyone blessed to have known her.

Peggy was born in San Antonio, Texas on July 18, 1947 to proud parents Dick and Martha McDevitt (nee Goodrich). The first of five siblings, she grew up as the devoted older sister to Rick, with whom she shared a birthday, Kathy, Terry, and Martha. As a military family they lived in Texas, California, and Montana, following their father's Air Force career until settling again in San Antonio. The sisters especially love telling stories of the mischief they'd get into together, and of their favorite family trips to Port Aransas which began Peggy's life-long love for the beach.

Before moving to California, Peggy started grade school at St. Peter Catholic School, where in second grade she met her oldest friend, also named Peggy! (They used to love calling each other and saying, "Hi Peggy. This is Peggy.") Upon returning to San Antonio she enrolled at Incarnate Word High School and made many more dear friends with whom she remained close. The most significant of these was to become her sister-in-law, Betty, whose brother Tom was often asked to double-date with Peggy to serve as a chaperone. Finally Tom asked Peggy to be his own date for a New Year's Eve party in 1964, and that night was the beginning of the beautiful, faithful, and enduring relationship that defined the rest of both of their lives. Tom says that when she didn't say no to spelunking as a date – literally crawling down into a deep, dark hole in the ground together – he knew she was a keeper!

After a two-year courtship during which the Beck and McDevitt families grew so close and intertwined they never saw each other as in-laws but simply as family, Peggy and Tom married at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church on December 29, 1966. Their firstborn, Julie, came along 11 months later, born during a snow storm in Frankfurt, Germany, where Tom was stationed during his service in the Army. The young couple took great pleasure in exploring the German, Italian, and Austrian country sides on Tom's weekends off. Filling the trunk with a tent and c-rations, and loading up on gas coupons, they travelled as only the young and in love can. They say they are pretty certain Mimi, daughter number two, was conceived on a camping trip in the Swiss Alps!

The young family returned to San Antonio and welcomed their third daughter, Margie, in 1970. Back home in the states, and near their extended families, their bonds of love and faithfulness grew ever stronger. Of course, having three little girls in diapers at the same time can test the patience and grace of a saint! But they always embraced the adventure together, and reveled in their role as parents. In 1977 they attended a Marriage Encounter Retreat which profoundly shaped their married life thereafter. By providing a theology of marriage as a sacramental life, and emphasizing the couple as a true sign of God's love in the world, the retreat allowed Peggy and Tom to see their love and faithfulness not just as gifts to each other, but as a blessing to all. For over 35 years they shared that blessing as a presenting couple for Engaged Encounter, preparing young couples for a sacramental life together.

As her girls grew, Peggy was the most amazing Mom! Volunteering at St. Paul Catholic Church, their parish and school, helping lead their Brownie and Girl Scout troops, serving as an officer for the Central Catholic & Providence Band Booster Club and the Providence High School PTC – to say Peggy was an involved parent does not do justice to the depth of her generosity or the breadth of her impact. In each of these communities she was a fierce and loyal advocate, a faithful and dedicated servant, and a visionary and creative leader. But above all she was a friend to everyone and a second mother to most!

Peggy loved being a wife and mother, and would do anything in her power to bring joy to her family. Sewing holiday dresses every Christmas and Easter for her girls, decorating exquisitely designed birthday cakes, crafting hand-made ceramic, crochet and macramé gifts, and making the best home-made comfort-food you'll ever taste, she was a creative tour-de-force in all she did.

Though being a stay-at-home Mom was her most cherished "job," Peggy started working part-time when her daughters were in middle school and quickly became a trusted and indispensable colleague in every new role she assumed. She especially enjoyed her time working with the Oblate priests and brothers at the St. Joseph Retreat Center and the Spiritan priests and brothers at the Provincial Office for the Congregation of the Holy Ghost.

Peggy's daughters continued to grow and thrive, graduating from college and starting their own careers and families. And then Margie blessed her with probably the greatest joy of her life, two beautiful, sweet, and kind grandchildren, Ian (now 15) and Audrey (now 11). These two adorable redheads were the absolute apples of her eye. One of her favorite things to do with the kids was to go peach and berry picking in the Hill Country. She always said being in the orchard was a religious experience – encountering the wonder of God's creation first-hand through the touch, taste, and feel of each sun-ripened peach. This sense of awe and gratitude was one of her greatest gifts, and one she certainly nurtured in her children and grandchildren.

Peggy and Tom joined the choir at St. Luke Catholic Church just so that they could see Ian and Audrey at Mass every week, and continue to be witnesses of faith and service to another generation. Then once she retired, Peggy began picking the kids up from school so she could spend time with them every day. And they had such a delightful time together! Even trying to get Audrey to do homework, or Ian to answer in anything but monosyllables became fun games for the three of them.

In the last several years Peggy proclaimed herself a member of two "gangs" – quilting and water aerobics! She made the most wonderful friends doing both. Tom says she was happiest when she was in the water, floating carefree, pain-free, and fearless. Granted it was great exercise, but Peggy went for the friendships she formed and the freedom she felt more than anything. Though a seamstress for decades, quilting was a new passion, and one her family – often the beneficiaries of her quilting efforts – especially appreciated. Every week she would come home with a new project and a new host of stories about her dear quilting friends.

Just after her passing, Margie asked Audrey if she should get a tattoo in remembrance of grandma, and if so, what it should be. They quickly realized that Peggy enjoyed and appreciated so many things in the world, it would be hard to narrow it down to just one image. Her favorites included the silly and the sublime: Lady Bugs, Cardinals, Hummingbirds, Bluebonnets, Kitty Cats, Minions, Hyacinths, Seashells, Nutcrackers, anything to do with Christmas, and so much more. She loved so much about life, and took joy in every moment.

She is survived by her devoted husband, Tom; daughters Julie (John) Rogers, Mimi Beck, and Margie Doran; grandchildren Ian and Audrey Doran; sisters Kathy Garza, Terry McDevitt, and Martha Heckerman; in-laws Bill (Noi) Beck, Betty England, Allan Beck, Charlie (Terry) Beck, JoAnn (Ernie) Grill, and Larry Beck; her Aunt Mary Goodrich, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents, Andrew Richard McDevitt and Martha Ettie (Goodrich); her husband's parents, William Allan Beck and Josephine Florence (Friesen); brother Rick McDevitt; and in-laws Maggie Beck and Bob England
Visitation will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with a Rosary at 7:00 p.m., on Wednesday, November 15, at St. Luke Catholic Church, 4603 Manitou Drive.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, November 16, also at St. Luke Catholic Church, with a graveside service at 1:15 p.m. at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, 1520 Harry Wurzbach Road, Pavilion Number 115. (without procession).

Please take a moment to sign the guestbook and share your own treasured memories of our dearest Peggy.

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Porter Loring Mortuary North

2102 North Loop 1604 East
San Antonio, TX 78232
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