Phillip Beck, 56, of Philadelphia, a journalist and former member of the Inquirer newsroom staff, died Thursday, July 9, of hypertensive cardiovascular disease at home.
The president of the Greater Philadelphia Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists from 2005 to 2013, Mr. Beck worked for several publications throughout his career, from The Inquirer to the Scientist magazine.
Eoin Beck, Mr. Beck's stepbrother, described him as passionate about the profession and a deep believer in its purpose. Mr. Beck once told Philadelphia Weekly, "Journalists are supposed to look out for the interests of citizens," a statement his stepbrother said "speaks very much to Phil and his ideals."
"Lawyers are in love with the law, and he was a journalist who was in love with the editorial process," Eoin Beck said.
At The Inquirer in the 1980s, Mr. Beck worked as a news assistant. He was "widely respected" in the newsroom, according to editor William K. Marimow.
"He was an ideal colleague who loved journalism," Marimow said.
Friends and family said Mr. Beck was a generous and kind friend. "I was always astonished by how many people considered Phil a friend," Eoin Beck said. "He was someone everyone liked and everyone adored."
One of those friends, Kelly Green, described Mr. Beck as "authentically kind and good."
Green recalled meeting Mr. Beck after he donated to a small charity she started, Help Make Peace, which organized holiday meals and other resources for people in poverty. Mr. Beck made a generous donation after he read about her work.
She called to thank him, and "it was instant friendship," Green said. Mr. Beck went on to become her daughter's godfather and teach the 11-year-old to play basketball.
In addition to his stepbrother, Mr. Beck is survived by his mother, Arlyne Wernikoff; a brother; two sisters; stepmother Theresa McGuire Beck; and nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, July 12, at Goldsteins' Rosenberg's Raphael-Sacks, 6410 N. Broad St. Burial will follow in Roosevelt Memorial Park, Trevose.