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Old 04-28-2020, 05:48 PM
Steve Hamilton's Avatar
Steve Hamilton Steve Hamilton is offline
ADMINISTRATOR MetalShaper of the Month Dec. '09 & May '11
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Fond du Lac WI.
Posts: 2,402
Default Sad news Today

The Metalshaping community has lost a very kind and extremely talented man.


Robert Beck ( Billy Jack )

The members that have attended Dan Pates gatherings up in Dennison MN. will recognize this great metal artisan. His working career was in Aircraft sheetmetal repair and fabrication, but his talents were varied and far reaching!

He was also involved in casting of jewelry and an active member of the blacksmith community.

He will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

Good bye my friend!
Steve Hamilton
Hamilton Classics
Auto Restoration & Metalshaping

Last edited by Steve Hamilton; 04-28-2020 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 04-28-2020, 06:40 PM
Kerry Pinkerton's Avatar
Kerry Pinkerton Kerry Pinkerton is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Near Huntsville, Alabama. Just south of the Tennessee line off I65
Posts: 8,318

AWWW Crap! I hate to hear that. Billy Jack was a neat guy and a Vietnam Vet. I enjoyed spending time with him up at Dan's.
Kerry Pinkerton
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Old 04-28-2020, 07:19 PM
RockHillWill RockHillWill is offline
MetalShaper of the Month Jan 2019
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,089

I'm deeply saddened by our loss of a true gentleman and patriot.

He was responsible for me choosing to use rivets to assemble the Model A speedster.

We spent quite a bit of time together at Dan's meets. We would sit and talk for hours about riveting, making guitars and other old man shit. He didn't want to talk about it in the shop, but after dark we would go outside at one of the picnic tables and he would share with me his mostly unpleasant experience in the Vietnam war. He was the helicopter repairman when the chopper was on the ground, but in the air he managed a .50 cal. machine gun that hung from the side bay door. Often, with great difficulty, he would share some of his missions he went out on. Rescue missions, support missions, recon missions and some times body recovery missions. We both cried a lot.

His 'crew' drew national recognition, and I apologize that I have lost the internet links to the sites that listed them along with some pictures.

It was more fun, when we would sit inside Dans shop between the walk-in door and the large door, in the morning eating eggs, bacon, French toast with that choke cherry jelly. Billy Jack still in that long dark red cloth coat that he slept in, reared back in the only padded chair in the shop, with that brown hat laid back on his head. He would catch me laughing my ass off at him until he figured out that I was laughing because he was dripping syrup off his plate into his lap. Then he'd take his fork and flip some of that same syrup over onto my sweat shirt, then tip his head forward and raise his eyebrows, daring me to flip some syrup back on him.

He spent extra time sharing riveting tips and tricks with me, making sure that I knew how to size them and install them. At one of the more recent meets he hand made me, and several others, a 'swirling' hand spun hole de-burrer, that I still know exactly where it is in my shop.

Once in a while, when we though that no one was looking, we would see who could get the most food to get stuck in our mustaches.

Damn, I'm gonna miss that old guy!


Last edited by RockHillWill; 04-28-2020 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:57 PM
Richard O Richard O is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Brandon, Manitoba
Posts: 41
Default Billy Jack

As you walk through life you will meet talented, creative, energetic, knowledgeable, patient, gifted, kind, people but it is rare to find all of those qualities and more in one man. Robert had a great capacity to share what he knew; it wasn’t long after we met Robert that if you wanted tips on any project Robert was your guy. In addition to metal working Robert was a machinist, black smith, leather worker, jeweler, actor, musician to name a few.
Our lives have been greatly enriched and impacted by knowing Robert and he will be missed by all that knew him.
God Bless you Robert


Richard Ott
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Old 04-29-2020, 08:49 AM
metalman sweden metalman sweden is offline
MetalShaper of the Month May 2012, Jan 2013, Oct 2013
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Sweden
Posts: 1,049
Default My riveting guru

Robert was my friend from first minute we met.
He gladly shared all of his skills who was way beyond many and I soaked up it all, also was I blown away when he happen to share some of his history.

I will always remember Billys warm and welcoming aura, the guys you not often meet but when you doing they will always be close to your heart.

The fight is over, peace my friend.
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Old 04-29-2020, 12:18 PM
Dyce Dyce is offline
MetalShaper of the Month Jan. 2011, Nov. 2016
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Souix Falls, SD
Posts: 901

I will always remember Billy humble presence. He was a good friend and one hell of a craftsman. My only regret is not spending more time with him.
Jeff Dyce
Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something.
Thomas A. Edison
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