Warren Beck, Historian and Longtime Cal State Professor, Dies


Warren A. Beck, 72, history professor at Cal State Fullerton for three decades and author of 10 historically oriented books, has died of cancer.

Known as a superior lecturer who emphasized classroom preparation, Beck earned awards as a distinguished teacher in 1967, as Fullerton’s distinguished social sciences faculty member in 1987, and its university-wide outstanding professor in 1989.

An expert on western America, Beck wrote “New Mexico: A History of Four Centuries,” which was printed more than a dozen times. A recent work, a historical atlas of World War II, was published in 1989.


Beck, a former chairman of the university’s history department, also is credited with shaping history instruction at Cal State Fullerton.

Teaching is a partnership, Beck once said.

“I take pride in helping those enrolled in my classes over the years. In the final analysis though, I often wonder if they have not educated me rather than my educating them.”

A native of Minneapolis, he received degrees from Wayne State and Ohio State universities.

At the time of his death, Beck was working on several books, including a small volume about his childhood, entitled “Christmas Today.” He planned to use the book, which his sons now intend to publish, as a Christmas card.

He died in Santa Ana on Tuesday of cancer.