Rev. John R. Becker, Jr., S.J., died suddenly on January 19, 2008, in Phoenix, Arizona. He is survived by a cousin, Sister Miriam Therese, C.S.A., of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. He entered the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and taught English and perfected boarders at Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose from 1950 to 1953. Ordained a priest on June 15, 1956, from 1958 to 1977 he taught English at St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco. In 1977 Father came to Brophy College Prep in Phoenix where he was to teach until two days before he died. In his nearly 31 years at Brophy Father taught English at every level, was moderator of the student yearbook and newspaper, a frequent retreat director, and a spiritual guide for numerous people at Brophy and elsewhere. He became known for the unique ways he taught his students so they could remember the finer points of English grammar. He was known for his exceptional personal care for his students. In his early years he was known to his contemporaries as "Johnny Jet" because of his fast pace of life as well as his gait. Father was an avid advocate of pro-life issues. Although billed as mysteries, his two published novels, Father, Forgive Them and Cold Case dealt with issues pertinent to the sanctity of human life. A frequent presider at Holy Spirit Parish in Tempe, Father was beloved by people of the parish. Visitation will be held at the Brophy Chapel from 3:00 PM until 5:00 PM on Sunday, January 27. It will conclude with a prayer service at 5:00 PM. The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 4715 N. Central Avenue, on Monday, January 28, at 10:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Brophy College Preparatory, 4701 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85012.
Published in The Arizona Republic from Jan. 24 to Jan. 27, 2008.