Allen Jesse Beck, Jr. was born June 16, 1925 to Allen J. Beck, Sr. and Anna Ruth Beck. He was soon called “Bud”, a nickname that stayed with him for life. He was part of of a close-knit, loving family. Allen’s father worked at the paper mill and the family lived on South Main Street in a house owned by the Company. They were Lutherans and attended nearby St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Carmalena, Allen’s sister, recalls her dad and Bud walking to church hand-in-hand. When he was old enough, Bud sang on the Cherub Choir and later the Junior Choir.
The family moved to 67 North Water Street when Bud was about seven years old. There his sister, then 12 years old, remembered he collected comic books and “Little Big Books” and kept them in a bookcase his father had built for him. He also made and collected model airplanes that he hung in his bedroom. On Water Street Bud became “best friends” with a neighbor, Kenneth Stauffer. The two boys built soapbox-type cars, Ken refers to as “Struggle Buggies”. They attended the Spring Grove Public School on East Street and played baseball and basketball. They, along with another friend, Orin Stambaugh, joined the Boy Scouts and enjoyed hiking and camping. All three boys were members of the Spring Grove Boy’s Band. In the summer time they sold snowballs to earn spending money. Bud’s mother made the syrup. As they grew older they thumbed rides to York and Hanover to see movies. Bud went hunting with his dad and brother-in-law, Marty Yohe.
Bud was a typical American teenager enjoying the best of times, but his carefree period was short-lived. He was sixteen years old when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and our country entered WWII. Like many other young men of his age, he was anxious to join the Armed Forces. In 1943, at the end of his Junior year, he quit school and enlisted, following his friend Ken who had graduated from high school that year. He joined the Army and mustered August 14th at Ft. Meade, Maryland. His first choice had been the Air Force, but he was turned down because he was colorblind. Due to this condition he could have had a desk job, but he wanted to serve his country at the front. He was assigned to Company M, 335th Infantry.
He was home on leave during the winter of 1943. He took a lot of pictures and visited old friends before boarding the train for Camp Clayborne, Louisiana. During the next year the folks at home received many letters from him. When he got his orders to ship out to Europe, he came home for a short leave, which happened to be in September during York Fair week. He enjoyed the fair, but the highlight of that leave was seeing and holding his baby nephew, Tyke Yohe. All too soon the leave was up and the family took him to the station where he boarded a train for New York and a troop ship.
Bud was wounded on Christmas Day 1944 and was sent to the Battalion Hospital. He returned to his unit on January 4, 1945 and that same day while fighting with his unit at Devantave, Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge, we was killed instantly by shrapnel during a German attack. He was not yet twenty years old.
Bud’s body was not returned home until March 21, 1949. At that time he was given full military honors and was laid to rest in the Spring Grove Cemetery. The war was long over and Ken’s classmates had returned to Spring Grove, some to the classroom where they received their long over-due high school diplomas. Bud did not have that opportunity. Thus, to honor his memory, the Spring Grove High School Half-Century Graduates inducted him into their organization as an Honorary Member of the Class of 1944.
* A special thanks to Frank Sheridan for information included on this page.