Saturday, September 25, 2010

Passing of John Becker, Editor, OGS Families

From John Becker's wife, Gwenne, comes this news -

"Dear friends and colleagues of John's:

I am saddened to tell you that John passed away on Wednesday, September 22, 2010. His cancer had caused him much pain in the last few months. However, he still enjoyed bantering with the nurses at Princess Margaret Hospital and he became a favourite on the floor.

I have attached an expanded version of the obituary that appeared in the Globe & Mail this morning.



John Adams Becker

July 18, 1932 – September 22, 2010

We honour the passing of loving husband, father, mentor, and dear friend on Wednesday September 22, 2010.

John was a man of passion, commitment, and an ethic of making a difference. In addition to a long career in university administration, he devoted much of his life energy to volunteer work.

Hart House was a major influence in his life and work during his years at the University of Toronto (SPS 5T5) and after, first as a member of the Finnish Exchange program, then as Undergraduate Secretary. He continued his administrative career at McMaster and York Universities from which he retired in 1989.

York was a formative experience for John. He spent over 20 years in various capacities and developed numerous long-term friendships which continued into retirement. The York community was a passion for him and retirement begged the question “was there life after York”.

He was happy to find a very fulfilling life after his retirement. He worked in the family firm, Becker Associates, and was instrumental in steering it in new directions. He also had time to indulge his love of researching family trees, and to develop a new passion for water colouring. Recently he served as volunteer editor of Families, the journal of the Ontario Genealogical Society.

John’s prostate cancer was first diagnosed in 1997 and was kept in check by the wizards at Princess Margaret Hospital during the years since then. Only in early 2010 did he begin to have any symptoms. For the last few weeks he was in the care of the loving staff at the Palliative Care Unit at PMH. Our family cannot thank them enough for the comfort they provided to John and to us.

John leaves his loving wife of 54 years and best friend, Gwenne (née Belsten), daughter Christina, and sons Adam (Benoit Desmarais), and Paul (Christian Garate), grandchildren Carolina, Max, and Lorraine. He also leaves his brother Dean (Lois Kelly Becker) and twin brother Keith (Neil Macvicar).

The absence of his energy, good humour, and caring will leave a large hole in our lives.

A private family service and cremation have been held. On October 13 a celebration of John’s life will be held at Trinity St. Paul’s at 427 Bloor St. West, Toronto, 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.

If friends and family wish to make a donation in John’s memory, the family would ask that it be made to the Hart House Finnish Exchange, University of Toronto.