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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 9, 2007

Milford Becker

GUILDERLAND — Dr. Milford Becker, known by many in the community simply as "Doc," was a veterinarian who loved animals. He died on Aug. 4, 2007 at the age of 91.

"We always just said he was part animal," said his daughter, Carol Becker, of Dr. Becker’s intuitive way of understanding his patients.

A family man with a wry sense of humor, he also had a serious, religious side.

"He always kept us laughing," said Ms. Becker. "Every Saturday, he’d bring home bubble-gum cigars for us and hid them behind his back," she said with a smile.

"We always took a Sunday drive," she recalled fondly. "We’d always sing in the car; everyone would have their parts," said Ms. Becker, launching into song, the one that the Beckers sang as they drove towards home: "Show me the way to go home...."

Heather Jobson, Dr. Becker’s granddaughter, had a more serious memory to share. "My biggest memories are walking out by the pond," she said, recalling Dr. Becker’s beloved Westfall Road property. "We’d have deep conversations about God and pray together. He was a very generous man with his time and with his heart."

At the center of Dr. Becker’s life was his wife, Mary. Their 68th wedding anniversary would have been on Aug. 24, 2007.

The couple eloped in 1939, recalled Mrs. Becker. "I came out from Indiana that year to take care of my sister’s children when she had her baby. He worked at the State Farm," Mrs. Becker said. "He was terrific...I was going back to Indiana to study nursing and he said, ‘Let’s get married,’ and we did."

Dr. Becker was a captain in the United States Army Medical Corps during World War II. He was stationed in Ireland, then England. During the last year of the war, he was assigned to the Pasteur Institute in Paris.

The Beckers’ son, David, was born as Dr. Becker went into the Army. "His years in the Army were pretty hard for me," recalled his wife. "I was here alone."

A Cornell-educated veterinarian, Dr. Becker practiced for many years at the Albany County Veterinary Hospital. His specialties were dogs, cats, and birds.

One of his grandchildren, Jamie Knightes, said he wanted to come back as a collie, reported granddaughter Heather Jobson, referring to one of his favorite breeds.

Dr. Becker was ahead of his time in healing birds, said Ms. Becker. The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation would sometimes bring him injured wild birds.

"He knew all the bird songs," said Ms. Becker, and he often imitated their songs. He was a long-time supporter of the National Audubon Society and The Nature Conservancy.

"He was chosen to go with a team of veterinarians to help in Russia," she said.

Dr. Becker’s willingness to help went beyond animals, to people.

"He loved to dress up as Santa Claus," said Ms. Becker. "As children, we’d go to nursing homes with him to deliver fruit and sing."

Dr. Becker was active in the Guilderland Youth Commission and was a Rotarian. Every Thursday, Dr. Becker and his wife worked as volunteers at Albany Medical Center.

"He rocked babies," recalled Mrs. Becker, "and he went down to the coffee shop on the first floor to talk to people waiting for patients."

The Altamont Reformed Church was very important to Dr. Becker. He was a member of the choir and of the consistory. His family relates this story:

"One time, while driving his beloved little red Volkswagen, he was clocked going 50 miles per hour in Altamont. The cop who stopped him said, ‘Where are you going in such a hurry"’ Doc replied, ‘To church.’ Doc didn’t get a ticket."

Mrs. Becker concluded of her husband, "He had terrific character. He was a very good person."


Dr. Becker’s family wishes to thank the many good friends and caregivers who helped in his later years, particularly Chuck Cronin who was like a beloved son, and his wife, Mickey.

"May God bless everyone who showed their love to Dad," the family wrote in a tribute. "One special note of thanks goes to Bob Luidens, Dad’s minister and friend. Also, we are especially grateful to Dr. Joel and Cindy Edwards and Dr. Don and Candy Dries for all they have done. May God bless and care for each one of us now that Dad has gone to the other life with Jesus."

Dr. Becker is survived by his wife, Mary Becker; by his son, Dr. David Becker, of Littleton, Colo.; by his daughters, Carol Becker and her husband, Marshall Hallett, of Manchester, Mo., Linda Becker and her husband, John Wolcott, of Albany, and Cathy Knightes of Guilderland.

He is also survived by his grandchildren, Heather Jobson, Mark Jobson and his wife, Lyndsie, Zoe and Andy Becker, Danny Knightes and his wife, Elizabeth, and Jamie Knightes; and by his great-grandchildren, Sebastian and Christian Jobson.

He is survived, too, by his brother, Dr. Maurice Becker of Albuquerque, N.M., and by his sister, Ruth Moore, of Rensselaer Falls, N.Y. His sister, Dorothy, died before him.

A service was held on Wednesday at the Altamont Reformed Church.

Memorial contributions may be made to Guilderhaven, 6655 Route 158, Altamont, NY 12009; the Community Caregivers, Post Office Box 523, Altamont, NY 12009; or the Altamont Reformed Church, 129 Lincoln Ave., Altamont, NY 12009.

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