Tributes for

Beck, Lester "Les"

Beck, Lester Henry "Les" Capt. Lester Henry "Les" Beck (USN, Ret.), 90, of Tustin, passed away peacefully on March 31, 2016. A native of New Jersey and son of Henry and Miriam Beck, the family moved to Ohio before his high school years. On entering the U.S. Navy, Les was sent to the University of Illinois - Urbana, and upon graduation was commissioned as Ensign to begin what would be over 34 years of active duty in the service, receiving numerous honors including the prestigious Legion of Merit and Meritorious Service medals. A mechanical engineer, Les began his career serving at sea on destroyers, aircraft carriers and amphibious ships, and shore duty at various atomic energy installations. While stationed in New Mexico, he met the love of his life, Marie Patricia "Pat", and was blessed to enjoy 63 years of marriage with her, raising seven children at various homes in California, Virginia and Maryland. After Les received a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, he had two tours of duty at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, where he was in charge of building, repair, and silencing of submarines. He also served at the Bureau of Ships as the first Submarine Noise Reduction ProgramOfficer. In subsequent years at Naval Sea Systems Command, Les was instrumental in achieving significant improvements in submarine and surface ship silencing, and transforming research and development to usable technology which enhanced the survivability and capabilities of the fleet. He directed the Ship Silencing Division and became the Deputy Commander for Research and Development, interacting with senior officials within the Defense Department industry, and the academic community in U.S. and abroad. His work also included development of prototype weapons and sensor demonstrations. Upon retiring from the Navy in 1977, Les continued his career by working with Rockwell International and Boeing.

A man of vibrant intellect, Lester's interests included history, railroads, cameras and photography, books, hiking and camping, and travel. He will be remembered for his humor, enthusiasm and storytelling. Les was a member of the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE), Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME), The Westerners, and the Orange County Historical Society. Predeceased two months ago by his beloved wife Pat, Les is survived by their children: Thomas (Wendy), Kathryn, Laura (Nathaniel Wilson), Susan Butler, Virginia, John and William; grandchildren: Jeffrey Holder (Christy), Caroline Wilson, Matthew Butler, Jared Bernard and Sara Wilson; great grandchildren, Kaitlyn and Austin Holder; and a nephew and seven nieces. He is predeceased by his brothers, Robert and David.

Visitation and a service will be held at Saddleback Chapel in Tustin on Saturday, April 16th from 12 - 4 PM (1:00 PM service and remembrances). Burial is being arranged at Arlington National Cemetery.


Mortuary: Saddleback Chapel

Florist: Saddleback Florist