Peter O. E. Bekker, the New York Press Club’s Consulting Director, died August 5, 2016, in Westport, New York, overlooking Lake Champlain, the culmination of a valiant three and a half year battle with brain cancer.
He was born in Idaho to Air Force Colonel Peter O.E. Bekker and his wife Gloria, and he lived for some years in Japan, where his father was in charge of Armed Forces Radio. Bekker attended Linwood College in St. Charles, Missouri, worked at KMOX Radio in St Louis, and spent many years at WCBS Newsradio 880 in New York City as a writer and producer. At WCBS he also originated a nationally syndicated broadcast called Peter Bekker: On Record. After leaving WCBS, Bekker went to work at Microsoft in Washington State, helping them create the then new web based Microsoft Network.
He returned to New York, to run his own computer consultancy, and linked up with the Press Club. His contributions to the Press Club are hard to overestimate. Bekker ran its day-to-day operations, while composing news stories for the web. At the same time he wrote code to completely overhaul the NYPC web site. He reinvented the process of awards submissions and awards judging, scrapping decades of cumbersome clips and mailing operations. He brought the club the technology it needed in the present day, with amazing technical expertise and the dedication only a true soldier of journalism would expend.
Peter Bekker’s wit, creativity, and drive, even in the face of terminal illness, was inspiring. We shall miss his knowledge, sense of humor, and intolerance for artifice, but we shall never forget what he did for the New York Press Club.