Beck resigns after long tenure on Shamokin Area board
COAL TOWNSHIP - LaRue Beck, a longtime director of Shamokin Area School Board and an even longer fixture with the district PTA, resigned from the board of directors Tuesday due to failing health.
Her request that her daughter, Treina Mariano, replace her was honored by board members who voted 8-0 to appoint the Coal Township woman to fulfill her mother's term in office, which expires in December.
According to her family, Beck first joined the school board for a four-year term in 1989. She was re-elected three more times, serving from 2001 to 2013, and had previously held the positions of president, vice president and treasurer.
This year marked her 16th year as a board director.
Beck, 84, has been in ill health for at least several months and is currently admitted into an area hospital. She twice participated in school board meetings in the fall of 2012 using Internet and cellphone connections, respectively.
"It might be tough for me to get through this one," Superintendent James Zack said before reading Beck's resignation letter.
Northumberland County President Judge Robert B. Sacavage was present to perform the swearing-in ceremony for Mariano. Prior to taking her oath of office, Mariano turned to the audience in the packed board room and, while struggling to keep her composure, thanked everyone for "accepting her mother in their lives."
"I just want to say this is an honor to do this for my mother," Mariano said. "She loves this community."
Director Charles Shuey, who is 60 years old, said he first met Beck as a sixth grade student while on a field trip to Dorney Park.
"In a voice only she could have, she said, 'Let's go! Make it snappy. Get on the bus.' That was my first interaction with Mrs. Beck."
"I think we all owe her a debt of gratitude for her devotion to the kids" of Shamokin Area, he said.
Beck served more than 50 years in Shamokin Area PTA, having held every office. She also held multiple state PTA positions and had been the recipient of the National PTA's Child Advocacy Award.
She also worked from 1976 to 1980 as a teacher's aide for remedial reading at Shamokin Area.
Director Bob Getchey referred to Beck as his second mother. He said he often went to her for advice and will miss having her to turn to.
Director Ron McElwee said Beck accomplished more than most in her lifetime.
Beck's family said a favorite poem of hers, "100 Years from Now," an excerpt from a Forest Witcraft work, captured how she envisioned her role in Shamokin Area and in the lives of children:
"One-hundred years from now,
It won't matter what kind of car I drove,
What kind of house I lived in,
How much money I had in my bank accounts,
Nor what my clothes looked like.
But the world may be a little better,
Because I was important in the life of a child."