Kenneth Lee Beck was born at the Beck Family Farm that his grandfather, Elias William Beck, established in 1880.  Kenneth grew up in the small town of Minden, La. He became a small town hero by playing football. Kenneth attended Staunton Military Academy in Staunton, Virginia on a scholarship and went on to play for two of the most beloved coaches in football history. He went on to Texas A&M on scholarship. He played for Coach Bear Bryant. Afterwards, he was drafted to the Green Bay Packers where he played for Coach Vince Lombardi. He spent a few years in Toronto, Canada with the Canadian football league. After receiving a knee injury that ended his football career he came back home to Minden. He finished his teaching degree at Southern Arkansas University where he met his wife, Sally Roberts. They both taught at Cotton Valley High School and have two children, Emily Ruth Beck Hendricks and Donald Robert Beck. Kenneth now enjoys retirement spending time with his wife, children and four grandchildren.

Texas A&M under Coach Bear Bryant 1955-1959

Green Bay Packers under Coach Vince Lombardi 1959-1961

Canadian Football League;Toronto Arganauts under Coach Lou Agassi 1962-1964

Compliments of Emily Beck Hendricks, daughter of Kenneth Beck



Sherry, my most memorable Beck stories were during his first year on the MHS varsity squad.  He was in the 8th grade and I was a Junior.  He was the starting left tackle and I was the left end.  Coaches Oliphant and Nation had put in a tackle-eligible play for this one game.  We were still running a lot of plays out of the single-wing formation.  When we shifted out of the T-formation to the single-wing formation, I moved back about a yard so that I was in the backfield.  The right halfback shifted up to the line of scrimmage.  This made the left tackle, Beck, eligible as a pass receiver.
When we ran the play in the game, I went down field about 5 yards and broke outside.  The linebacker followed me out.  Beck hesitated a 2-count and went where the linebacker had been.  Gayle Wise tossed the pass just over the line and Beck caught the ball.  He headed for the goal line like a scalded dog.  I mean, he was picking them up and putting them down.  He ran 30 to 40 yards for the touchdown.  I trailed along about 10 yards behind him.
The next week we were going over the game film and Coach Oliphant jumped on me for not blocking anyone after Beck caught the ball.  I didn't say anything.  If I could have thought fast enough, I would have said, "Coach, after Beck caught the ball there wasn't anyone on the field who could have caught up with Mrs. Beck's "little" boy."  I would have probably been running laps for a week, but it would have been worth it.
In another game the opposing tackle was working Beck over pretty good and we didn't wear face masks then.  In the 3rd quarter as we were going back into the huddle, Beck said, "Ivy, I can't see."  I looked at him and both of his eyes were so swollen that there were just slits where his eyes were.  After that, I was telling him to block left or block right, depending where his man was lining up.  He was playing both offense and defense and not going to the sidelines.  I played some defense, but not all the time.  The first time I went to the sidelines I told Coach Oliphant about Beck's eyes.  He said, "I don't have anyone to put in for him."  He did have a sub, but he didn't want to take Beck out.  He finally did about the middle of the 4th quarter.
This is rather lengthy, but I do think about both these incidents when I think about Beck.

MEMORY OF KENNETH BECK - Judy Gleason Claassen

Kenneth was in the graduating class after mine, so I am not sure what classes at Minden High we shared, but somehow I got to know him.  He was always so sweet, a "gentle
giant" with a soft voice. There is one time when Kenneth really went all out to help me, so I will tell that story.

It happened after high school when I was a student at Baylor U. in Waco, Texas, and he was a well-known football player for our rival, Texas A&M.  Kenneth was known throughout the Southwest Conference schools, and I had bragged to my Baylor buddies that he was from my high school and that we were friends.

One year when the annual Baylor-Texas A&M football game was to be played in College Station, all the Baylor girls were excited to be going to Aggieland--we all loved the Aggies.  My roommates suggested that I call upon my friend "the great Kenneth Beck" to get us dates to the game with Aggies. It would really make those Baylor boys (and girls) jealous! Quite frankly I didn't feel that I knew him well enough to ask such a favor, but I had to save face, so I contacted him by letter, half hoping that it would never reach him.  A day or two before the game I received a phone call from Kenneth.  He had lined up blind dates for the three of us, and he gave me the particulars as to how to rendezvous before the game. We would be sitting with the Corps of Cadets!  Although I was very grateful, I was embarrassed and apologetic, but he acted as though it was genuinely his pleasure to be of help. What a darling man!  It was a great game and we all cheered for Kenneth.

Kenneth Beck died Sunday morning, March 5, 2006. He had cancer. He was a resident of Cotton Valley when he passed away.


I saw Paul Bryant, Junior, this morning
and told him about Ken Beck's passing. Paul Jr.
was in elementary school when his father coached
at Texas A&M.
He said after his dad went to Alabama after the
1957 season that Ken would call him. he said
after A&M beat Rice in 1958, he called Coach
Bryant to let him know he had played his best
coach. Apparently, ken had not played well
against Rice in '57 when the owls upset No. 1
Anyway, Ken Beck was one of only two football
players to play for both Coach Bryant and Vince
Lombardi. The other was a lineman named Steve
Wright, who played at Alabama in the early 1960s
and for Lombardi during his final years in Green Bay.

Steve Townsen



Pictures of Kenneth Beck from the Minden High School Grig.


Kenneth Beck had just got back from Green Bay Wis. after playing pro football. It was senior day at MHS 1961. He

had A 1961 blue convertible Pontiac. I had 1955 Plymouth. I ask Kenneth what my chances were to use his car for

senior day. He looked at me, gave me the keys and and said have it back by 5PM.I will never forget that. That's the

kind of guy he was.

                                                                                                                                 Ronnie Hennigan


Sally Roberts BeckFuneral services for Sally Roberts Beck, 64, will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 19, 2007 at First Pentecostal Church of Cotton Valley with the Rev. Kenneth Dehart officiating. Burial will follow at Cotton Valley Cemetery under the direction of Rose-Neath Funeral Home.

Visitation will be held from 5 until 8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 18, at the church.

Mrs. Beck was born in Hot Springs, Ark. on April 23, 1943 to James Roberts and Corrine Price Roberts. After graduating from Lakeside High School in 1961, she attended Southern Arkansas University (SAU) in Magnolia, Ark. where she got a degree in teaching. It was at SAU where she met her future husband, Kenneth Beck.

She and her husband eventually moved to Cotton Valley where she taught school for many years. The couple had a remarkable life together.
They did everything together. Their love for teaching, coaching, being parents and grandparents and their love for each other was seen by everyone who knew them.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth Beck.

She is survived by two sisters, Sue Bridges and husband Jack of Hot Springs and Estell Crane  and husband Pete of Dubberly; one brother, Gene Roberts and wife Rita of Tulsa, Okla.; one son, Donald Robert Beck and wife Sheree of  Cotton Valley; one daughter, Emily Ruth Hendricks and husband Troyce of Minden; four grandchildren, Lance and Sarah Hendricks and Austin and Riley Beck.