Ruth Beck, 87, classical pianist

March 02, 2004

Ruth Beck, a classical pianist who was active in her synagogue, died Feb. 24 of complications from a stroke at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center & Hospital. The Cheswolde resident was 87.

Born Ruth Krugman in West Hartford, Conn., she was married for 64 years to retired Army Col. Louis Beck, who survives her.

Mrs. Beck began her piano training at age 8. She studied at the Hartford School of Music and, while in Germany as an Army wife, at the University of Heidelberg, where she took lessons under pianist and composer Wolfgang Fortner. After moving to Baltimore in the 1950s when her husband was assigned to Fort Holabird, she continued her education at the Peabody Conservatory.

A member of the Beth El Congregation, she played musical accompaniment for more than 20 years at sisterhood and brotherhood annual observances. She also played for sisterhood's philanthropic musical group, Chai Lights.

Mrs. Beck served two terms as president of the Hadassah A-6 Chapter. She was named Beth El Congregation's Woman of the Year and Member of the Year by the sisterhood.

She served on a Jewish Community Center committee whose members selected musical scholarship winners. With her husband, she created the JCC's Melissa Brooke Beck Scholarship for continuing musical education.

Mrs. Beck traveled extensively and enjoyed entertaining friends and cooking.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. today at Sol Levinson & Bros., 8900 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville.

In addition to her husband, survivors include a son, Donald Beck of Eldersburg; a daughter, Cynthia Beck Fox of Arnold; two sisters, Freda Balk of West Hartford and Sally Schaperow of New London, Conn.; a step-brother, Purroy Margoles of Merrick, N.Y.; two step-sisters, Sheila Schlein of Valley Stream, N.Y., and Florie Mitchell of Miami, Fla.; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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