October 2, 1910 - February 14, 2004
Mary O. Becker, 93, passed away on February 14th, in Santa Barbara, California. She was born on October 2, 1910 to Oscar and Sarah Ida Layne in Hornersville, Missouri, the eldest of eight. She graduated with a degree in English from Southwest Missouri State Teachers College in 1933 and taught high school English in Dadeville, near Springfield, Missouri.
In the fall of 1935, she met James M. Becker, the town's new high school principal as well as its new Methodist minister; they were married in December. They taught together until WW II began, when James and her three brothers enlisted in the service. In 1943 she joined the Women's Army Corps, and rose quickly to the rank of Captain, serving at the Pentagon. At war's end she left the Army to join her husband in Hawaii, have her son, Peter, and begin life as an Air Force Chaplain's wife.
In 1952, retired from the military, they moved to La Jolla, California, where Mary helped run James' real estate business and pursued lifelong passions of English literature, theater, and the design of everything from flower arrangements to complete houses. In 1999, she moved to a retirement home in Santa Barbara, California, to be near her son.
She was always smiling, utterly joyful and charming, a devoted and loving sister, wife and mother, and a close friend to very many. It was surely her famously sweet nature that prompted her to take her leave on St. Valentine's Day.
She was predeceased by her husband James M. Becker in 1991 and is survived by her sister Sharron Bonner of Monroe, Louisiana, and her son Peter Becker of Santa Barbara.
Her remains were interred on February 19th at a family graveside ceremony in Santa Barbara Cemetery on a knoll overlooking the ocean, where James' ashes are scattered.
In lieu of flowers she would have much preferred a donation to her favorite organization, the Democratic Party.