Harold Lavern Beck Family of Merrick County, Nebraska

Harold Lavern Beck was born on a farm northwest of Clarks, in the Pleasant Hill-Pierce Chapel community, son of David and Fern Trullinger Beck. Harold grew to manhood in this neighborhood and received his education at the Pleasant Hill School. He had the distinction of being the only student to start and complete his full twelve years of study at this school. In his youth, Harold enjoyed the game of baseball, and played on the Pleasant Hill team all through school.

He started a farming-livestock operation in his early teens. In addition to this operation, Harold held a clerical position in the office of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration for a number of years. It was here he met his future wife, Viola Tyler, who held a secretarial position in this organization for more than four years.

In 1941 Harold enlisted in the U.S. Army, the first volunteer in Merrick County, and served three years.

In May, 1942, he was married to Viola Marie Tyler, daughter of Leslie and Jessie Tyler, also of the Clarks area. After Harold’s army service he returned to Clarks, and he and his wife purchased a farm from his grandfather, James Trullinger, located two miles west of Clarks. There were five children born to them: Leslie, Lynn, Shannon, Shelli and Sherilyn. Leslie and family live on a farm three miles west of Clarks, Lynn and family reside in Natal, Brazil (his wife being a native of Brazil), Shannon (Zegar) and family reside on a farm northwest of Clarks, Shelli, (Mrs. Robert Voichoiskie) lives on a farm north of Havens near Silver Creek, and Sherilyn (Mrs. Dennis Stark) resides in Grand Island.

Harold was a true conservationist and spent his life improving his environment. He was always interested in acquiring a piece of worn-out land to see how quickly he could reclaim and bring it to top production. He was especially interested in water conservation, and did a great deal of work on irrigation development.

Harold purchased some land-leveling equipment in the early fifties and established a business in irrigation development, which he and his sons operated for seventeen years in addition to their farming operation.

George Roumpf, a close neighbor and friend, worked with the Beck family for more than thirty-five years in their farming and land leveling operation.

As the family grew up and eventually started to take over some of the responsibilities, Harold and Viola greatly enjoyed traveling. They had travelled all fifty states, most of them several times, and also had toured in Mexico, Central America, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific Islands, part of France, and South Africa. Again, their interest was primarily centered around the agricultural aspects of these places. One of the things they enjoyed most was traveling to various parts of the United States to pick and process whatever kind of fruit they found to be in season, and bringing home a supply to their families and friends. They found many friends with a common agricultural interest.

One of the more satisfying family projects was the construction of a large swimming pool in their backyard. It was maintained for eighteen years for the use of all the family and community.

In 1973, the family built and equipped a recreational facility on their farm, known as “The ’Ol Barn”, which is meant to serve their friends and community for a wide variety of social activities.

In later years, Harold and Viola have spent their winter months in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, near McAllen. Again, they have been particularly interested in the agricultural versatility and development of this rich and fertile area.

Harold and Viola are members of the Pierce Chapel rural church.

In March, 1980, Harold lost his life to the dreaded disease of lung cancer.

Submitted by Viola Beck


Merrick County Historical Society, History of Merrick County, Nebraska (1981), Volume I, Dallas, Texas : Taylor Publishing Company, 1981.

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