Carl George Becker

December 20, 1946January 7, 2023
Obituary of Carl George Becker
Carl George Becker December 20, 1946 – January 7, 2023 Carl George Becker, maker of the world’s greatest sauerbraten, Willie Mays fan, world traveler, friend of national parks, voracious reader, U.S. Navy veteran, lifeguard, dog lover, and ultimately a loving husband and father of three sons, has passed away at the age of 76. Carl was born in Staten Island, New York, on December 20, 1946, and came to rest on January 7, 2023 in Little Rock, Arkansas. In between, he lived a life of compassion and exploration – from adopting two of his three children on two different continents to volunteering at animal shelters to traveling the world. As a young man, he was top of his class at Port Richmond High School. He worked as a lifeguard and in the summer romped around Ocean Beach, New Jersey, swimming in the Atlantic with his siblings. He attended Cornell University before following his family to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he transferred to California State University, Hayward. After graduation, Carl enlisted in the United States Navy. He served four years as an officer during the Vietnam War. He learned Mandarin Chinese at the Navy’s Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA, and was stationed in Taipei, Taiwan. He and his first wife, Terry Sullivan, adopted a two-week-old boy in Taiwan, just weeks after President Richard Nixon visited China to defrost relations. Carl acknowledged that historic exchange as an impetus for adopting a child of Chinese descent. He would tell him, “It was one way we could do our part to support peace.” That utopian world view defined much of Carl’s life. He and Terry had their second son in Taiwan, then adopted a third in the United States. They were proud of their family’s diversity, raising three sons from Asian, European, and Latino roots. Carl taught them how to throw a football, ride a bike, and set up tents on camping trips. He coached their soccer teams and joined them on Boy Scout outings. He endured all three sons practicing trombone, trumpet, and drums, sometimes simultaneously. He taught them how to drive. He took them on a four-week cross-country vacation that touched Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, and Washington, D.C. He never stopped traveling. He met his second wife, Vickie, in Chicago on 9/11 after airlines were grounded, and together they traveled the world with vigor that rivaled Ferdinand Magellan. They RVed throughout North America, Central America, and South Africa. They visited the pyramids of Egypt, the Parthenon in Greece, and enjoyed wildlife excursions in southern Africa. They rounded Cape Horn as part of a four-month cruise from Europe to Africa to Southeast Asia. Carl especially enjoyed the Queen Mary II steaming from Southampton to New York City. Between trips, Carl and Vickie supported human rights causes and volunteered at animal shelters. His love for dogs was profound. He owned eight in his lifetime. He only needed one baseball team though, rooting for the San Francisco Giants. He recalled visiting the Polo Grounds before the team left New York City, declaring Willie Mays the greatest player of all time. He went to the earthquake-interrupting 1989 World Series with his sister Gayle, brother-in-law Chris Hamm, and their son Spencer Hamm. And he rejoiced when the club won three World Series championships in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Through it all, Carl’s life was rooted in family. He doted dutifully over his mother in her later years, calling her every day and taking her to lunch. His voice would rise an octave when he talked about his wife, children, and grandchildren. He joked about his antics with his brother Bruce – they never exchanged “Rated PG” birthday cards – or how proud he was of his little sister Gayle. He will be remembered as a patient, gentle, caring, kind soul with a genuine sense of humor, a beaming smile, and an infectiously loud laugh. Carl’s legacy continues with his wife Vickie and beloved dachshund Max, his sons Neil Wu Becker, Todd Becker, and Jody Becker, and his five grandchildren who he raved about constantly – Mira Becker, Kavai Wu, Halia Wu, Xavier Oliver, and Ariel Oliver. Carl is survived by his younger brother, Bruce Becker, little sister Gayle Hamm, and extended family stretching from California to New York. If you look up to the heavens and listen carefully, you’ll hear a peaceful man in a Willie Mays jersey listening to Simon & Garfunkel while driving his red 1960s-era Volkswagen bug off into the sunset. A private service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary of Kanab, Utah, or to any local animal shelter.

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