G. Raymond (Ray) Becker
PEORIA - G. Raymond (Ray) Becker, 89, of Peoria, passed away Thursday, May 7th at OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home surrounded by his loving family. He died of natural causes unrelated to COVID-19.
He was born February 12, 1931, in Peoria, IL to Florine (Martin) and William N. Becker Sr. Both preceded him in death as well as six brothers: Paul, Chuck, William Jr., John, James and Edmund Becker, one son Robert Becker and one stepdaughter Kim Genovese. Ray married Donna Butsch in 1950, she survives. Also surviving are his children Ron (Gene) of Hawi, HI, Cindy (Jan) Simpson, Nancy (Tim) Tobin, Diane (Tim) Driscoll, Ray Jr. (Stephanie), Lisa Becker and Julie (Roy) Sorce, all of Peoria; Ray was a loving grandfather to eight: Trevor Holmes, Ashley Parker, Meghan Higgs, Shay Obery, Alex Copeland, Trey Becker and Tony and Daniel Webber; nine great-grandchildren: Paxton, Greysn, Hudson, Shepard, Tatum, Blakley, Benjamin, Hunter and Hadley; one sister Joyce Cover of Peoria; and a loving uncle to many nieces and nephews.
He married Carmen Sabin in 2007, she survives. Also surviving are a son Jake Becker of Morton, a stepson Milan (Tammy) Boyanich and two stepgrandchildren, Jessie and Milan Jr. of Florida.
A prominent businessman in Peoria, Ray developed numerous companies and constructed many buildings helping to make the Peoria skyline what it is today.
Ray graduated from Woodruff High School in 1949, having already started his construction business, which by the mid 50's had grown into Becker Bros., Inc., a general construction company. Shortly thereafter he started Becker Lumber Company on Farmington Road. One of his earliest projects was building Holy Family School, Rectory and Convent. Ray was always admired for his diligence and ability to get things done in a timely manner.
For the next 40 years, he developed numerous nursing homes, junior colleges, hotels, apartments, condominiums and retail properties. In 1979 he opened Landmark Recreation Center with 50 lanes of bowling, 12 movie theatres and a Health Club.
Ray's biggest undertaking was the demolition of the entire block surrounding Main, Jefferson, Fulton and Madison. This would become Twin Towers Place, Twin Towers Plaza and the Becker Building, which he dedicated to his parents.
Over the years he has been principal benefactor to the Boys Club of Peoria, Youth Farm and EP!C (formerly PARC). Ray served on the Illinois Capital Development Board, Chairman of the Board of Eureka College, Bradley University Advisory Board, and Easter Seals. In 2019 he was awarded the Local Legends Award for the positive impact he made on this community.
Ray enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, sharing holidays, special meals or just reminiscing. But one of his greatest joys was spending time with his grandchildren/great-grandchildren who affectionately called him "Papa G.R. man with the Cigar."
Ray loved his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He was a devout Catholic who attended daily mass. Ray gave all credit for his success to his God. He believed in seeking wisdom and direction through prayer.
A big man with a bigger heart- Ray always championed the underdog, the poor and under privileged, serving with kindness and generosity to those in need. Specifically Poor Clare Monastery and the Monastery Brothers of Saint John were closest to his heart. He believed not only in reaching out to help, but lifting others up to a better life.
A private Mass of Christian Burial and graveside service in St. Joseph Cemetery in West Peoria will be held.
Memorials in Ray's memory may be made to Fr. Ted's Kids Mission in Kenya, Ltd. c/o Casey Ladowski, 1200 Gleneagles Ct, Lake Geneva, WI 53147.
Friends and family may sign the online guestbook or send private condolences by logging onto www.wrightandsalmon.com