Gloria V. Beck
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Gloria V. Beck
  • November 12, 1922 - December 17, 2017
  • Walpole, New Hampshire

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Gloria Vita (Grano) Beck, 95, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, longtime resident of Walpole, died suddenly at home on December 17, 2017. She was "Glo" to her husband Hank of 64 years who preceded her in death in 2016, Mom to her kids, Nana to her granddaughters and Two Nana to her great-grandson.

She was born in 1922 in the Bronx, NY, to Edward and Irma (Barbieri) Grano, the eldest of three children. Except for a one-year stint in Memphis, TN the family resided in the New York City area. She graduated from Pleasantville High School in 1941, her yearbook awarding her the title "Typical Sweater Girl" for her large collection of hand-knitted sweaters.

As a teen her father, a dress designer, would take her into NY to buy sample clothes from up-and-coming designers. One of his colleagues, Bill Blass, fitted her for a new suit that, despite his assurances, she criticized as too tight. She continued her interest in fashion and design by sewing, quilting, and knitting her entire life. She made all her own clothes and won prizes for her quilts. In an early attempt at starting her own business, "Mademoiselle Gloria" sold handmade handkerchief cases, mail order (no COD).

After high school she was trained as a mechanical drafter and worked for CBS in the group developing color TV. In 1948 she joined the team at Columbia University's Nevis Lab building the world's largest cyclotron. It was at Nevis where she met Hank, and they were married in May of 1951, settling in Ossining, NY.

She left the workforce when daughter Jacquie arrived in 1953. Rick came along in 1955. Her activity in the Girl Scouts outlasted her daughter's, and her tenure as Girl Scout Chairman was highlighted when she called a Black Panther leader in NYC to make him pledge that a planned demonstration during a parade would not harm her scouts.

The family moved to Virginia in 1969, and with both kids now in high school, she re-entered the work force as an admin for Consolidated Freightways and then as a personnel director for Wheeler Industries.

When Hank's office relocated to Mississippi in 1978, she took the opportunity to retire to focus on both her golf and bridge games. In 1985 she and Hank moved to New Hampshire where they had always planned to retire.

They traveled extensively in the US and around the world throughout their marriage - their first trip to Europe was in 1963. Retirement gave them the opportunity to see the world at a more relaxed pace. They visited all the continents except Antarctica and made many friends with whom they stayed in contact over the years. It was a trip to Macchu Picchu that convinced her it was time for her first knee replacement. She was active until the moment she died.

When computers first became commonplace, she dove into learning how to use them to connect with family and friends, and find new designs. She enjoyed a good troubleshooting challenge.

She loved gardening, or as she called it, weeding, and spent most of her time during nice weather outside hunting weeds. At 94, when it was becoming tiring for her to walk, she got a golf cart to tote all her tools around the property and she re-designed much of the garden. In winter, she built snow forts into her 80's.

She also enjoyed flying co-pilot in small planes with Rick, finding fun in the turbulence that many people gasp at. Her interest in flying was a natural outgrowth of her love of flying kites.

She always said she was 29 even when grandchildren passed her by. It wasn't until she became a great-grandmother early in 2017 that she finally admitted to feeling old.

She is survived by her brother, Novello Grano and sister-in-law Zukhra Grano of New York, NY; sister-in-law Elizabeth Grano of Ossining, NY; daughter, Dr. Jacqueline Toner and son-in-law, Dr. Eric Toner of Baltimore, MD; her son Henry Richard Beck of Walpole; three Toner granddaughters, Dr. Kaitlin Raimi of Ann Arbor, MI, and Dr. Kendra Barrett and Rhianna Toner, both of Baltimore, MD: great-grandson Henry Gene Barrett, of Baltimore, MD; and several nieces and nephews.

Services for Mrs. Beck will be private.

In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make a donation in Mrs. Beck's memory to The Girl Scouts of America, directed to Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson, 2 Great Oak Lane, Pleasantville, NY 10570, Attention: Fund Development. Donations may also be made to The Girl Scouts of America online by visiting http://www.girlscoutshh.org/en/donate/FundHerSuccess.html