The Temple Family Remembers Don Beck

(Former Peoples Temple member Don Beck died on July 9, 2021, following a lengthy illness. He was 78. The following remembrances are by other former members, as well as from some who met him in more recent years. The editors are grateful to Tim Carter for gathering these postings from Facebook in the days following Don’s death.)

Jean Brown (left), Tim Clancey, Don Beck, May 1979, Redwood Valley

Deb Harper

I’m stunned… I know we are aging. Time does that to us all but some souls are forever young. Don Beck is forever young, a gentle lion among us. Let the children sing Welcome.

Kristine Alles

I had the pleasure of living at the Ranch with Don and getting to know him. He was smart, had a great sense of humor and a sweet spirit.

Robin Wages Letterio

Rest in peace, Don.

Jim Jones Jr

I find myself with a heavy heart this morning. There was many a time as I raised my sons that I referred to Don’s mentoring of me, in academics or social skills, to understand things or accept those same concepts I could not change. It is truly peaceful, that another “Angel” got their wings. But as I think of the void that is the result of Don’s passing, I have been blessed he passed my way.

Janet Shular

Today is full of thoughts of people from the past. This news is the exclamation mark. I never knew him well but admired his tenacity. Blessed Be.

Vera Washington

I am totally shocked to hear this. I remember Don’s insight and wisdom. I had some short memorable conversations with him. I am glad I got to meet him.


Don Beck (top row, second from left) Jonestown pioneer days

Doxsee Phares

I am sad to hear the news. I remember him as a gentle soul. He was Stephanie’s teacher in Redwood Valley, and she loved him. I’m blessed to have known him.

Kimberly White

What a cool man.. His son Danny was the greatest friend. Now they are together, and with others.

Grace Grech Jones

Don was a Kindergarten Teacher at the Public School in Redwood Valley. I can still remember his classroom and how it was set up. It was amazing! I, too, feel blessed to have known him. Rest In Peace, my friend.

Kimi Arvold

Don was so incredibly good with the children. A kind and gentle soul with a great sense of humor. I have good memories of Don. Rest In Peace Don, you will be missed

Jamil Blackwell

Yes, I have very positive memories of Don, a very decent human.

Versi Connesero

Don will be missed. I will always remember him directing the children in music. Rest In Peace.

Jack Colbert

  1. Chip a little here, chip a little there, before you know it we’re getting somewhere, we make ourselves prisoners by what we think, let’s break our chains link by link.
  2. It’s bubbling It’s bubbling it’s bubbling in my soul…It’s singing and laughing cuz truth has made us whole…..Folks don’t understand it, I can’t keep it quiet
  3. D-O-W-N DOWN, DOWN ,DOWN …. With segregation……WELL……!!! Up with democracy in every village city and town … Let it sweep through the country at the very same time… Every man, woman, boy and girl, let democracy flourish and be unfurled… Let it sweep through the Senate and all the lynch mob violent leaders… And if they start a filibuster, don’t let them talk, just snatch ’em off their feet and send them for a walk
  4. The games people play now, every night and every day now … never mean what they say now…

… My first choir director. He was a natural teacher. RIP DON.

Don Beck, reviewing photos at California Historical Society, 2008

Vicki Perry

He was so very smart and sweet. First thing I thought about him.

Laurie Harwell Henderson

I can totally picture the homecoming given to him by his Temple choir in heaven.

Sylvia Marciniak

Rest in peace, Don Beck.

Rikke Wettendorff

I had many interesting exchanges with Don, including the occasional ones where I was on the receiving end of his wrath for simply not getting what he was trying to tell me. He didn’t suffer fools gladly, but – testament to his big heart –he always took pity on me and we could continue our dialogue….

Ron Kohl

Don was in my thoughts recently. Laura and I always visited him when he returned to visit his second home in San Diego.

Susan M White Hicks

Very special man. When I first began reaching out to PT survivors more than a decade ago he was nice enough to tolerate me. Although we never got very close I always appreciated and respected him for the ability to be kind and abrupt without harshness. RIP Mr. Beck.