Rolf Beck, of Damascus Township, Pennsylvania, died on April 20 after a short illness. He was 77.
He was born in 1941 in Germany, coming to the U.S. at age nine with his parents, Curt and Maria Beck, and older brother, Richard. His father, an artist, did illustrations for many New York magazines.
Rolf was a sculptor, farmer, naturalist, environmentalist and devoted family man. He worked for many years doing bas-relief portrait sculptures for Medallic Arts Company for their corporate and government clients. He was active in the fight against the National Park Service (NPS) attempt to make this area a national park. As a result of this fight, property was kept in private hands with the Delaware River under the protection of the NPS, and the Upper Delaware Council was formed, a group of representatives of municipalities bordering the river. Rolf facilitated the creation of the Damascus Forest, comprised of 60-plus acres of public open space and park lands. He was also a prime and sustaining force in the formation and work of Damascus Citizens for Sustainability (DCS), the organization that woke up the East Coast of the U.S. about the dangers of hydraulic fracturing and gas and oil drilling. It was his awareness of the need to publicize the science of and the actual impacts from these activities that has led to blocking these processes in many places, including New York State and the Delaware River Basin.
He lived in Damascus Township for close to 50 years, building his farm into productive garden, orchard and grassland areas where he raised beef cattle, apples and many wonderful vegetables, feeding his family and many others. A warm and loving man with a keen intellect, great sense of humor and abiding concern for the health of the planet, he will be deeply missed.
He is survived by his wife Barbara; his sons, Eric, in Damascus, PA and Rolf Derek, who lives in California; his ex-wife, Connie, mother of Eric in Damascus; and step daughter Michelle and her family in California.
He was predeceased by his parents and brother, Richard Beck, all of whom lived in Mountain Home, PA.
A memorial gathering is being arranged for mid-July. If you want to attend, please either email farm@FortyFrogfarm.com or write Beck, P.O. Box 24, Narrowsburg, NY 12764, with your contact information.
Memorial donations may be made to Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, P.O. Box 147, Milanville, PA 18443 or online at www.damascuscitizens.org.