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'Golden hands' were filled with love

Anne Beck's hobby was knitting and crocheting, but her real talent was being a doting mother and grandmother.

© St. Petersburg Times
published June 7, 2002


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GUERNSEY ESTATES -- Thanks to Anne Beck's nimble fingers, babies from Tampa to Colorado stayed warm in the tiny booties, hats and sweaters she knitted.

"She had golden hands," said her daughter, Cookie Buchman. "She's the only person I know who could knit, read a book, watch TV and know what was going on."

Mrs. Beck, a doting mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, was 89 when she died unexpectedly May 31 at her South Tampa home. Services were Monday.

"She was so full of life and she seemed so healthy," said Buchman.

Mrs. Beck and her late husband, Murray, moved to Tampa from the Miami area in 1979 to be near their daughter and her family.

Not a day passed in recent years that Mrs. Beck, known as "GiGi" to her great-grandchildren, didn't telephone her grandchildren: She'd ask how they were doing and listen to every detail about their kids.

"She was very friendly," said her daughter. "As a matter of fact she could talk to a wrong number."

A New York City native and lifelong Democrat, she knitted or crocheted for her family, friends and strangers. She made countless booties and hats for babies in the intensive care unit at St. Joseph's Hospital. For years, she taught knitting at the Jewish Community Center.

"She was very patient -- always ready to help," said Aleida Deneka, a former student who became a close friend.

Mrs. Beck's family was her life.

"She was my rock," Buchman said. "There was nothing, nothing in my life I couldn't tell her. She was never judgmental."

Mrs. Beck's son, Eugene, would take her to visit granddaughter Julie Roher and her family each Sunday. She'd bring presents for the great-grandchildren, including sweaters she'd knitted.

There were monthly luncheons at Congregation Schaarai Zedek and Hadassah. The highlight of the afternoon was Mrs. Beck's visit to the temple's day care center to see her great-grandchildren, Amy Elizabeth Roher and Riley Jacob Buchman.

She was known for her cooking, especially her chopped liver, matzo ball soup and chicken salad.

Julie Roher recalls coming home from school in the afternoons to a full house.

"My grandmother cooked dinner for us every night," she said.

Mrs. Beck traveled to Israel several times, including once in recent years with a musical group. And there were regular family cruises. That's where Beck earned the nickname "Disco Annie." If the music was playing, her feet were moving.

In addition to her daughter and son, she leaves three grandchildren, Roher, and Steven and Eric Buchman; and three great-grandchildren, Amy and Zachary Roher and Riley Buchman.

Her husband of 67 years preceded her in death, as did granddaughter Amy Elizabeth Buchman.

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