Jan. 9, 2007
Former Georgia Tech football great Ray Beck, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, died Tuesday in his hometown of Cedartown, Ga. He was 75.
A memorial will be held Saturday at 5 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Cedartown. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the Ayers-Beck Foundation or to the First Baptist Church of Cedartown.
Beck was a first-team all-America selection as a senior in 1951, when he helped the Yellow Jackets to an 11-0-1 season, the Southeastern Conference title and a victory over Baylor in the Orange Bowl. Also a first-team all-SEC choice at guard, he lettered three years (1949-50-51) under legendary head coach Bobby Dodd. Born Ray Merrell Beck on March 17, 1931 in Bowden, he grew up in Cedartown, where he starred at Cedartown High from 1944-48.
Beck was a second-round draft choice in 1952 by the New York Giants, for whom he played four seasons, interrupted by a stint in the U.S. Army. He was a member of the Giants, 1956 NFL championship team.
Beck was inducted into the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame in 1956 and then was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997. He is also a member of the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and served on that organization’s Board of Directors.
“Ray was not only a great football player, but a great leader who helped us go from a 5-6 team to an 11-0-1 team his senior year,” said his Tech teammate George Morris, another College Football Hall of Fame member. “Obviously he could play football, and he was one of the people you could always count on.
“He was a wonderful family man, and a community leader in Cedartown and Polk County. The people of Cedartown will really miss him, and so will I. You just can’t find anybody better. I’ve lost a great friend.”