ROBERT L. BECKER, SR.
ITHACA - Robert L. Becker, Sr., 84, devoted husband and father died unexpectedly at home on Wednesday, September 17, 2003. He was born May 26, 1919 in Syracuse, NY. Bob grew up in Jordan, NY, and graduated from Jordan Free Academy. He served his country in the 101st Airborne Division of the Army during World War II.Bob moved to Ithaca to work at Morse Chain where he met his wife, Betty. Bob and Betty lived the remainder of their lives in Ithaca. He was employed by Cayuga Rock Salt Company. During his employment there, he was a member of the Cayuga Rock Salt Mine and Rescue Team which, under extremely dangerous conditions, performed the recovery operation at the Owego water intake tunnel disaster in August 1957. Bob later went to work for Ithaca College in the maintenance department. After retirement from Ithaca College, Bob worked at Becker's Mobil Service Station and continued to work with his son in the construction trade for many years.Bob was an avid sports enthusiast. He was a high school athlete starring in basketball and baseball. Bob was a baseball pitcher for several local ball teams, including Morse Chain, city and town leagues. He coached Kiwanis baseball for several years, highlighted by his team winning a city championship. Bob also enjoyed fishing and hunting.Gardening and cooking were two of Bob's passions. He also had many bird feeders and loved watching the variety of birds that would visit his back yard. Bob's greatest joy in life was spending time with his wife, daughter and sons, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.Bob was predeceased by his parents, George and Jennie (Graham) Becker; and his brother, George Becker. He was also predeceased by his wife of 60 years, Betty J. (Chilson) Becker who passed away April 8, 2003. Bob is survived by his daughter, Randa (William) Best; his sons, Robert L. (Wilma) Becker, Jr. and Renall T. (Lorelei) Becker, all of Ithaca; grandchildren, Stephen Best of Harford, NY, Stacey (Amy) Becker of Ithaca, NY, Chris (Elizabeth) Becker of Spencer, NY, Luci Goodrich of Tempe, AZ, Victoria Best of Mesa, AZ, and Taylor Becker of Ithaca, NY; two great-grandchildren, Robert M. Becker and Gianna M. Ruocco; many nieces and nephews; and his beloved cat, Pookie.A celebration of Bob's life will be held on Monday, September 22, 2003, at 2:30 p.m. at Bethel Grove Bible Church, 1763 Slaterville Road (Rte. 79E), Ithaca, NY, the Reverend Chuck Tompkins officiating. Burial will be at Snyder Hill Cemetery immediately following the funeral. Friends may call from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 21, 2003, at Bangs Funeral Home. Memorial contributions in Bob's name may be made to the SPCA of Ithaca.
Published in Ithaca Journal on Sept. 19, 2003