John Joseph Becker, 86
Sept. 2, 1929 — July 25, 2016
John Joseph “Jack” Becker, 86, passed away peacefully Monday July 25, 2016, at the Cottages of Cedar Run in West Bend.
He was born Sept. 2, 1929, in Chicago to the late Patrick Earl and Mary Katherine (nee Twohig) Becker, and grew up in the Chicago area.
He attended Campion Jesuit High School and St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, in 1951, where he played hockey, golf, and received a degree in business administration.
On Feb. 11, 1956, he married Dona Clare Schlacks at St. Edmunds Catholic Church in Oak Park, Illinois. Together they raised seven children and were proud grandparents to 15 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
In the early years, he made his home in Naperville, Illinois, where he became active in the Catholic parish, St. Raphael. He taught C.C.D., coached pee-wee football and served on numerous committees, including the parish counsel.
He worked in Chicago as vice president of McGuire Equipment Co., and managed the Midwest Region Chandler Division of Pepsico Leasing Corp., before making the move to West Bend to work for the B.C. Ziegler Co.
He joined Ziegler in 1971 as vice president of leasing, and was elected senior vice president in 1975. He was named director of Ziegler Leasing, a subsidiary of Ziegler Co. Inc., in 1976 and was elected president later that year. He had a successful career until his retirement, and was a member of the American Association of Equipment Lessors.
He was an active member of the community, even after retirement, serving to help causes dear to him such as furthering education of post-polio, and working with the American Heart Association in Washington County. He was a longtime member of the Rotary Club.
One of the great benefits of moving to Wisconsin was the ability for him to pursue his passion for golf, amongst the beauty of the Kettle Moraine, at the West Bend Country Club. As an involved member and past-president, he helped make lasting improvements to the course and facilities, and enjoyed working with the Evans Scholarship program. The club provided a great source of enjoyment for him, as he golfed into his 80s.
His hobbies included art and music, as he developed his talents at an early age. He enjoyed sketching, and produced many pen-and-ink drawings, and he could light up a room playing the piano. He appreciated the theatre, and did Summer Stock in Wheeling, Illinois, as a young man. Locally, he appeared in the Musical Masquer’s productions of “South Pacific” and “The Sunshine Boys,” experiences he enjoyed immensely.
Later in life, in 2005, he married Nancy Koehler. They enjoyed an active social life, including golf and travel, a highlight of which was a trip to Ireland.
John is survived by his wife, Nancy (nee Merriam) Koehler; his six children, Mary ( Lou) Conte, Judith Wagner, Sharon (Alan) Bell, Virginia (Greg) Starr, John (Jane) Becker and Amy (Ken) Kohls; his grandchildren, Jacqlyn Conte, Jenna Conte, Katie (Kyle) O’Rourke, Michael Wagner, Patrick (Cammie) Bell, Nicholas (Katie) Bell, Christopher Bell, Perry Bell, April (Bill) Otten, Ryan Starr, Eric Starr, Austin Becker, Taylor Becker, Bobbie Kohls and Connor Kohls; his great-grandchildren: Dominic Bell and Xander Bell; his sister, Rosemarie (the late Thomas) Sullivan; his brother, Patrick (Betty Jo) Becker; sister-in-law, Rowena (the late Richard) Hohman; and H. Paul (Nancy) and Bob (the late Colleen) Schlacks.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Dona Clare Becker; son, Daniel Jude Becker; brother, Geary (Terry) Becker; and brothers-in-law, Daniel (the late Carol) Schlacks and Bill (Susan) Schlacks.
A Mass of Christian Burial to celebrate John’s life will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1, at St. Frances Cabrini Church in West Bend. The family will greet relatives and friends preceding the service at the church from 11 a.m.-1:45 p.m. A private interment will be held the following morning at Washington County Memorial Park.
Memorial contributions in memory of John can be sent to: Alzheimer’s Association, 620 S. 76th St., Milwaukee, WI 53214, and Evans Scholars Foundation, One Briar Road, Golf, IL 60029-0301.
The Schmidt Funeral Home in West Bend in serving the family. Online guestbook and condolences are available at www.schmidtfuneralhome.com.