Saluting Carma Lou Beck, Retail and Industry Pioneer (1938-2021)

Carma Lou Beck, 82, of Cedar Rapids, passed away on January 4, 2021 after a long battle with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) and a recent pneumonia illness.

Carma Lou was born in Gladbrook, Iowa to Arthur and Helen (Schlicht) Meggers.  She graduated Gladbrook High School in 1955 and then obtained a music degree at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa in 1959.  After teaching music at Corning High School, she worked in music stores in the Quad Cities and Cincinnati, Ohio.  In 1969, she opened Carma Lou’s House of Music with locations in Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Des Moines.  She married her second husband, F. Daniel Beck, in 1980 who partnered with her in running her business until his death in 1984. Besides running her music store, Carma Lou was very involved with the community.  She was a member and President of the Cedar Rapids Symphony Guild and Co-Producer of the Cedar Rapids Symphony Guild Follies productions over 18 years.  She was a member of the American Guild of Organists, Former Rotary Club Member, original board member of The Revival Theatre Company, and was featured on the cover of NAMM magazine.  She was a regular on television and radio with her commercials or commentary on the activities she was involved in.  After closing her store in 1996, she worked for West Music for 10 years and was the organist for Noelridge Christian Church.  She continued as the organist and member of Noelridge Christian Church for 23 years including volunteering to make and serve food to disadvantaged Cedar Rapidians.  The last several years she also taught private music lessons and was associated with Premier Piano Service in Walker, Iowa.   

Throughout her life and career Carma Lou met thousands of people and had many friends that meant so much to her.  She had an uncanny memory and could remember people that she sold instruments to, decades later, with full details of their family, what they bought and where they lived.  Most impressive was her musical ability.  She had been playing piano and organ since she was 3 years old and could play hours of songs by ear while sharing the bench and talking to friends at events.  One of her favorite memories was having a “bench” moment with Hayden Fry and Tom Davis on both sides of her in awe of her talent while she continued to play and chat. She was an avid college sports fan and could hold long conversations about different coaches, players, and records of Big 10 and Big 12 teams.  She was an amazing woman with a great sense of humor that no one who knew her will ever forget.

Carma Lou was preceded in death by her husband, Dan, her parents, Arthur and Helen Meggers, her sister and brother-in-law, Janyce and Norm Stephenson and her brother-in-law Donald Cowell.

She is survived by her sister, Marilyn Cowell, daughter, Christie (Kevin) Hurd and her stepson Andrew Beck; her grandchildren Shauna (Chris) Lalumondier, Michaella Woods, Blake (Kunle) Bowale, Savannah and Sienna Hurd, Adam (Katie) Becker and Brad Beck; her great-grandchildren Zeppelin Lalumondier, Amiar and Evanescence Lasley and their sister, Zhari Stuart, Layla and Logan Becker.  In addition, there are many nieces, nephews, cousins, and wonderful friends that were part of her family and heart that she leaves behind.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Noelridge Christian Church, 7111 C Ave NE, Cedar Rapids, IA  52402. 

Please watch the Noelridge Christian Church website in late spring/early summer for a celebration of life service. Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *