Former district doctor Keith Beck passes

DR BECK: Former doctor Keith Beck has passed away in Wauchope after a brief illness.
DR BECK: Former doctor Keith Beck has passed away in Wauchope after a brief illness.

Former doctor Keith Beck has passed away in Wauchope after a brief illness.

Dr Beck was formerly of Crookwell and Goulburn. 

A story in the Port Macquarie News earlier this year said Dr Beck had retired only five years ago at the age of 85.

His grandfather, William Beck, a journeyman baker, arrived from Germany at Port Adelaide in 1884.  

“He married my grandmother in Sydney, joined the gold rush in Western Australia, where he made no money, and had three sons, all bakers, and a daughter,” Dr Beck had told the Port Macquarie News.

Ever efficient, he had already composed his epitaph.

“When I die it will be: I was bred to a baker’s wife. I took up medicine because the dough was better.” 

He was born in Sydney and worked at Lewisham Hospital after graduating and got married to his wife, Shirlee, who passed away in 2012. First, they went to a cottage hospital on a portable generator in Delegate on the Victorian border.

After that he practiced in Crookwell and then Goulburn, at the Goulburn Medical Centre from 1972 to 1990.

“We lived out on a farm, and had a practice of 19 doctors. My friend David Gillespie, the MP, said it was the biggest group practice in Australia at the time,” he told the Port Macquarie News.

He and his wife moved to Wauchope in 1991.

Dr Beck had spoken at international health conferences in the USA and was on the board of Bundaleer Care Services for eight years.  He was a founder member of the Australian Association of Practice Managers, NSW branch.

​Dr Geoff Drake recalled Dr Beck as a fine doctor and also the practice manager of Goulburn Medical Centre.

“He was very meticulous. He dotted every i and crossed every t,” Dr Drake said.

“There were 20 doctors here then including premises at Bradfordville, though not all were GPs, some were specialists. Keith Beck came here in 1972 and stayed until 1990.

“This practice was the only practice in town and the doctors looked after one another. It was very busy because we looked after both hospitals as well. You had to be here for 12 months’ observation before you were allowed to join the group. We cared for each other and supported each other.”

Dr Ian Hutchins concurred that Dr Beck was a very efficient practice manager.

“Practice management was a relatively new idea in those days and you had to tick all the right boxes,” Dr Hutchins said.

“He was very good at it. He was the type of early country GP that is almost extinct now. The ones that stayed in an area for a long while.”

​Dr Beck’s funeral is being held at Our Lady of Loudres Catholic Parish Church, Wauchope on Saturday, July 15 at 10am. 


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