Anna Mae Beck, 56, of Watson, passed away at 9:23 a.m. on Saturday, March 29, 2014, at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana.
Memorial services for Anna will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 12, 2014, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Effingham. Visitation will be from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12, 2014, prior to the services at the church. Johnson Funeral Home in Effingham is assisting the family. Memorials may be made to the Anna Beck Memorial Fund at First National Bank of Dieterich- Effingham Branch, 510 W. Fayette Avenue, Effingham, IL 62401. Online condolences may be made to www.johnsonandsonsfh.com.
Anna was born on Dec. 25, 1957, in Franklin, Ind., the daughter of Virginia Williams and stepdaughter of Jack Williams. Anna attended North Daviess and received her Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern College and was near completion of her Master’s Degree from Eastern College as well. She worked as a mental health case manager at Heartland Human Services of Effingham. Anna was the president of the AFSCME Local 3494 representing the workers at Heartland Human Services.
From the beginning in 2005 when management cut benefits and pay for those who provide vital services to the mentally ill in Effingham, she stood up for justice. Along with other workers she formed a union to seek basic rights. When management refused they went out on strike and two years later they won. That was a measure of their strength collectively and Anna’s commitment and perseverance. Later when the current management illegally withdrew recognition of the union — twice — Anna took on the leadership role challenging management’s actions. Just recently her efforts were vindicated when a federal appeals court ruled that Heartland management must recognize the union.
Anna will be remembered by tens of thousands across the state. She spoke at mass rallies in Chicago, huge conventions in Springfield, meetings in Champaign and elsewhere. She was always a voice for fairness and justice. She was always upbeat and always knew that if you fight for what is right-You will win. Outside of her work she loved cooking, reading, and writing poetry. She loved animals and usually had a dog or two around her. She loved spending time with her family and friends, especially her grandchildren. She also enjoyed genealogy and researching her Indian heritage. She never met a stranger and had a great sense of humor. She was a very caring person who loved helping others.