GUILDERLAND — Trained as a nurse, Mary Catherine Becker tended to those she loved all her life.
She died with family by her side on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, in St. Peter’s Hospice in Albany. She was 93.
She was born on Sept. 18, 1919, to the late Elbert and Laura Miller in Peru, Ind.
As a young woman, Mrs. Becker went to nursing school and was a Girl Scout leader and a Cub Scout den mother. She volunteered at Albany Medical Center Hospital for 30 years.
She sang in the choirs of Altamont Reformed Church and McKownville United Methodist Church. She served as a deacon on the Consistory of Altamont Reformed Church.
She was an expert seamstress and quilter, created wonderful crafts, and was a gifted cook and baker. She loved pets and music, and was a beautiful gardener, knowing by name all of the plants and flowers she tended.
An echo of a poem from Anne of Green Gables was found written in Mary Becker’s Five-Year Diary, dated 1938-1942, which her family says truly represents her attitude towards those she knew:
“When Heaven drops its curtains
and pins time with a star
Remember that I’m still your friend
no matter where you are.”
Stories recently shared about Mrs. Becker that reflect the overall family’s sentiments were gathered by her granddaughter, Heather Rutherford:
June Brose commented, “I’ll always remember my Aunt Mary Catherine telling stories with her older sisters and them recalling such funny things about their childhood. And, of course, I’ll always remember her special cherry pastry!”
Jamie Knightes reflected, “Sometimes it’s the hardest to find the right words to say about the people we care so deeply for and sometimes there are no words because we know that the person knows how we feel in our hearts…We wouldn’t always have to say the words but they (my grandparents) knew how I felt…Grandma was a gentle and patient person especially while teaching me how to knit. She was so knowledgeable wanting to share her knowledge of gardening, birds, cleaning, and, of course, baking. We would always go for walks in the woods…Grandma would always welcome you to stay for lunch and never let you forget to eat dessert. You would certainly never go hungry at Grandma’s.”
Mark Jobson expressed, “I remember Grandma as a generous woman, who would offer her resources — time, skills, dollars, whatever she had to give — without reservation and without expecting something in return. I remember Grandma as a woman who loved and stood by her man for such a long time, 60-plus years of marriage — always together. I remember her as incredibly consistent — a woman of great routine with things well-organized in their proper place and proper time slot. You always knew what to expect and that led to a longing to be with her, near her, because, if for just the short while that you were there, things made sense.”
Finally, Rev. Bob Luidens shared at the memorial service how he felt Mrs. Becker truly represented Colossians 3:12-17 (from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible): “As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another…Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony….And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
“She will be greatly missed,” her family wrote in a tribute, “and now rests in the arms of Jesus.”
Her beloved husband, Dr. Milford Becker, died before her as did her brothers and sisters.
She is survived by the four children that she and her husband lovingly raised and encouraged throughout their lives: Dr. David Becker of Littleton, Colo.; Carol Becker and her husband, Marshall Hallett, of Manchester, Mo.; Linda Becker and her husband, John Wolcott, of Albany; and Cathy Becker Knightes of Guilderland.
Additionally, she is survived by the grandchildren they deeply loved: Heather Rutherford and her husband, William, and Mark Jobson and his wife, Lyndsie, Zoe and Andy Becker, Dan and Jamie Knightes; and their great-grandchildren Sebastian and Christian Jobson.
A memorial service was held on Sunday, Jan. 13, at the Altamont Reformed Church. Memorial contributions may be made either to the Altamont Reformed Church, Post Office Box 671, Altamont, NY 12009, or to Parkinson Disease Research Foundation, In care of Dr. Eric Mohol, Albany Medical Center MC-70, 47 New Scotland Ave., Albany NY 12208 (with “In memory of Mary C. Becker” noted on the memo).
Mrs. Becker’s family wishes to thank the many good friends and caregivers who helped in her later years, especially since Dr. Becker’s passing five years ago. Specifically, the family wants to thank Chuck and Mickey Cronin for looking out for her and helping her on countless occasions. One additional special note of thanks goes to Rev. Bob Luidens, her minister and friend. “May God bless everyone who showed love to Mary,” her family wrote.