Raymond James Beck

July 14, 1945 ~ April 18, 2022 (age 76)


Raymond “Ray” James Beck, 76, died peacefully on April 18, 2022, on his ranch surrounded by the unconditional love of his family.  He was born July 14, 1945, in The Dalles, OR to Raymond and Marie (Hassing) Beck. Ray’s formative years on the John Day River ranch as an only child were defined and informed by an avid love of the outdoors.  His many activities include countless excursions on horseback tending cows, as well as fishing, hunting, and swimming the wide expanses of the John Day.  Especially memorable to him was the day he landed that ever elusive steelhead.  Many hours were spent riding the vast acreage tending cattle with his father and mother lending to his lifelong love for ranching. Eventually the great distance from school access necessitated his move to Condon, Oregon where he attended high school and went on to excel at basketball as a 6’4” center for the Condon Blue Devils graduating in 1964.  In addition, he would share numerous stories of participating in mischief and pranks with friends and classmates confirming a lifelong sharply wicked sense of humor.  
Following high school, Ray enlisted in the army on the buddy system and was deployed to Vietnam from April 1966 to 1967 serving in Da Nang and Bien Hoa operating a forklift as an ammunition storage specialist and earning sharpshooter recognitions.  
Following his discharge from the Army, he returned to Oregon and attended barber school in Portland.  He was employed for a period at a chrome plating factory and while most people could never imagine ‘Dad’ as a biker, he did indeed take great pride in owning a Harley Davidson motorcycle.  In a fashion truly representative of his resourceful nature, he implemented his chrome plating talents to equip his bike with enviable pipes and sissy bars.
Ray and Sonja Slovacek were married on March 6, 1971, in Portland and later divorced. Ray eventually carved out his ranching vision in Burns, Oregon, moving there in the early 1970’s.  It was here that he built and realized his ultimate love of cattle ranching.  His greatest satisfaction was defined by countless hours of tending his cattle.  This endeavor was augmented by his consummate skills in welding and mechanics. His operation could only be described as completely self-made from the ground up.  He never knew a day free of work.
In lieu of the brand new, he would invariably employ his ingenuity to fabricate what was needed to get the job done.  In this manner he was able to successfully create his ranch his way.   When not laboring in love with his cows, Ray could be seen planting trees and vegetables such as potatoes and rhubarb.  He could also be ribbed for his love of mince meat pie and bread pudding.  He loved to make bread, kneading the dough with his large hands.  Ray will be remembered for his story telling, laughter and interesting cooking concoctions.  He had an amazing work ethic and loved driving his 1980’s F150 trucks to feed his cattle around the valley. He also became known and loved by many through his work as a barber in Burns and will be lovingly remembered for his affable smile and friendly interactions. He could be heard saying “don’t take any plug nickels” or “take your time going but hurry coming back”.
Ray is survived by the mother of his children, Sonja Clark; son Ray (Linda) Beck of Burns; daughter Hannah Bieler of Grangeville, ID; and son Jay Beck, Burns.  He has five grandchildren; Audrey and Faith Bieler and Ava Forsyth of Grangeville, ID; and Karsten and Kristria Beck of Fresno, CA.
Ray was preceded in death by his parents Raymond and Marie Beck; and his baby brother, Jackie.
A private graveside service will be conducted in Condon, OR.  on Friday April 22nd at 2:00pm at St. Joseph Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions to Raymond’s memory may be made to Harney County Hospice or a charity of one’s choice.  
The family is deeply grateful to all the hospice personnel for the hours of care and support rendered to our dad. In addition, we are appreciative of the many calls and inquiries by friends and relatives. We appreciate the staff at Harney District Hospital for the care our dad received in the Emergency Room as well.  Additional thanks are extended to Mark at Frontier Medical Supply for the equipment accommodations.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Raymond, please visit our floral store.


Graveside Service
April 22, 2022

2:00 PM
St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery
Condon Airport Road
Condon, OR 97823

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