Frank (Pete) Beccue, 1984

Mr. Beccue spent almost all of his life in Villa Grove, where he was born in 1913. He worked briefly as a boilermaker in a railroad shop during the steam engine era and also drove a milk wagon in Vandalia, Illinois. However, he worked primarily as a painting contractor in Villa Grove. Married for 51 years, he and his wife raised six children. "My wife died two years ago. That changed my life," he said in a 1984 interview. Then he had a stroke which rendered him incapable of taking care of himself. Having been pretty much on his own since he was twelve, Mr. Beccue was bothered by his lack of freedom and dependence upon others. "Until my stroke, being old was fun. I got to go fishing whenever I wanted, spent time with my family and friends, and did what I wanted when I wanted. It was like being as free as a kid again, but with more privileges and fewer responsibilities. "I feel that if I have some knowledge to pass along to younger people it is to take care of yourself. Your health is one thing that cannot be replaced, so be good to yourself." His only regret was that he wishes he had been more attentive to his children as they were growing up, especially now that they are taking such good care of him.

Source: Raymond Bial, There is a Season, Champaign County Nursing Home, 1984.