ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- John Beck served in many ways, from Rockford City Council, to the Edgewater Neighborhood Association. People say they will always remember him for one distinct quality, leadership.
"I got the message about 7:30 this morning and it was just utter disbelief and shock," Longtime friend Arles Hendershott said. "I remember when he first ran for city council and he looked at a group of us and said as a child my goal in life was to be an alderman."
Beck served as an Alderperson for the city of Rockford’s 12th ward for 19 years, something he took very seriously.
"He always had a special way about him and I'm going to miss the man dearly," Alderperson Joseph Chiarelli said.
People across the Rockford region are remembering Alderperson John Beck in their own ways, but one thing everyone agrees on, he was a notable civil servant.
"Those of you in the community who don't know John, weren't fortunate to know him, know that your life is better because of John Beck,” Rockford Park District Executive Director Jay Sandine said. “What he did not only at the park district, but as a City Council Alderman for almost 20 years."
His work with the park district and on City Council changed lives, but his humor and attitude is what people won't forget.
"One particular time and early on when I first became an Alderman in 2013 John would tell me you're going to be fine,” Chiarelli said. “Joe just don't be the person that you think you are, try to be more like me, and you'll be just fine.”
Whether it be because of humor and wit or leadership, everyone agrees he will be missed.
"He should be remembered for not one individual project, he should be remembered for the fact he was courageous, nothing stopped him, and his passion," Hendershott said.
Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara shared his thoughts in a statement released by the city of Rockford, it states:
“John was a dedicated community servant, a leader on our City Council and my friend. It’s hard to overstate the impact he has made on our community and on me personally,” McNamara said. “He was intelligent, thoughtful and funny, and he genuinely cared about the people he served, both at the park district and as an alderman. I’m stunned and saddened by his passing. I join his family, friends, constituents and coworkers who are mourning this tremendous loss to our community.”