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Philip John Becker


1929 - 2019 Obituary Condolences
Philip John Becker Obituary
Philip John Becker, 89, of Elgin, formerly of Peoria, IL, passed away January 28, 2019. He was a kind man, dedicated to family, friends, teaching, and trains. Philip was born May 29, 1929, to Philip and Minnie Becker Jr. A sister, Charlotte Ann, died in 1938. He earned his Bachelor's and Master's from Bradley University in physics and mathematics. His thesis involved building and testing a scintillation spectrometer that measured the energy of subatomic particles emitted by radioactive isotopes. After serving as an Army fire control optics instructor at Aberdeen Proving Ground during the Korean War, Philip began teaching at Woodruff High School in Peoria. He became Richwoods High School's first physics teacher and chaired its Science Department. He chaired a civic committee that saved a Chicago Rock Island and Pacific Railroad locomotive from being part of a playground, and it was restored and relocated to Wheels O' Time Museum, Dunlap. Philip taught at Illinois Central College, East Peoria, later becoming a full professor teaching physics and astronomy. In 1989, Philip received the Gallion Award, a student-nominated award for excellence in teaching. He helped plan a solar house at ICC to demonstrate alternative energy sources. After retiring, Philip volunteered at the Illinois Railway Museum, driving a streetcar 55 years after watching streetcars pass his grade school. Surviving are his wife Joyce (nee Carroll) Becker of Elgin; daughter Julie (Leonard) Somogyi of Bolingbrook; son Brian (Sue) Becker of Round Rock, TX; grandchildren Lauren and Craig Somogyi and Peyton and Riley Becker; and cousins Richard Cook of Double Oak, TX and Viola Cook Beal of El Paso, IL. A celebration of life will take place later at the Universalist Unitarian Church of Peoria. Send inquiries to [email protected] Arrangements entrusted to Cardinal Funeral Services. Sympathies may be expressed at www.cardinalfuneral.com. Philip's greatest hope was for people to recognize the urgency of climate change and find alternative forms of energy. His family has established the "Philip J. Becker Eco-Advocacy Endowment Fund" to inspire Girl Scouts to lead the way for better environmental practices. Gifts may be made at girlscoutsgcnwi.org/donate.
Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication on Feb. 3, 2019
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