Harry M. Becker

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Harry Math Becker, age 91 of Gaylord, Michigan, passed away peacefully on February 26, 2023, with his family at his side.

Harry was a loving and beloved husband, father, and grandfather, who lived a full and adventurous life.

Born April 27, 1931, in Glendive, Montana, to Henry Bernard and Amelia Josephine (Strohmayer) Becker, he spent his early childhood years on their family dairy farm. At age five, his family moved to Whitefish, Montana, where he spent most of his childhood hunting with his favorite uncles, teaching tricks to his horse, and joking and playing tricks on his younger sister, Henrietta.

At 14, Harry worked for his Uncle Roman for two summers as the youngest member of his combining crew harvesting crops from North Dakota to New Mexico. This crew was a 500-person team the US government chose to serve as the Harvest Brigade to provide food for the Allied troops and civilians during WWII. Harry finished his last two years of high school in Glendive, MT, where he found life-long friends. He excelled at playing basketball, track, baseball, and football, and helped Dawson High School win back-to-back state titles in football. He continued playing football at North Dakota State College of Science. In 1991, Harry was inducted into NDSCS’s Hall of Fame for his outstanding athletic abilities and achievements during his time playing football for them.

Harry received his associate degree from NDSCS and promptly got a job working for Shell back in his hometown of Glendive. Due to his strong will, perseverance, and the disciplined principle of working hard, Harry quickly rose through the ranks at Shell. In 1962, Harry was reassigned to take over one of the offshore oil rigs off the coast of Santa Barbara, CA, making him the youngest offshore drilling foreman at the time. Harry helped to develop/employ underwater diving and drilling techniques/devices. In 1974 Harry was transferred to Gaylord to supervise Shell’s operations in the growing Niagaran trend. He retired from Shell in 1987, then promptly went to work with Ward Lake Energy to develop the shallow Antrim formation. He has been honored for lifetime achievements in oil and gas through the American Petroleum Institute and the Michigan Desk & Derrick Club.

In 1958, Harry fell in love and married Shirley Jean LaPage, and they have shared the following 64 years together. Throughout life’s joys and sorrows, pains and pleasures, they have loved and supported each other, and through their actions have created a beautiful, warm, and tight-knit family.

Harry loved his children and grandchildren and has been there for all their sporting events, joys and heartbreaks, graduations, birthdays, weddings, and other major life events. He’s the loudest cheerleader any of his kids or grandkids could ask for, and he loved telling stories of his life and giving memorable life lessons. He was community-minded, participating on many boards.

Harry is survived by his wife, Shirley; two sons, Ronald (Roberta) and David (Joan); five grandchildren, Travis (Alix), Clay (Sheldan), CiCi, Ronni (Tanner), and Rena; one great-grandson, Benji Harry Becker; half-brother, Michael “Mel” Norgaard; and brother-in-law Richard Dietz.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Henrietta Becker Dietz; and his sister-in-law, Maxine Norgaard.

A visitation will be held on Friday, March 3, 2023, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Nelson Funeral Home in Gaylord.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Saturday, March 4, 2023, at St. Mary Cathedral in Gaylord starting at 11:00 a.m. Visitation will be held prior to Mass at the cathedral beginning at 10:00 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorials donations may be made to either St. Mary Athletic Association at 321 N. Otsego Ave., Gaylord, MI 49735 or Gaylord High Athletic Association at 90 Livingston Blvd., Gaylord, MI 49735-9387

Arrangements were entrusted to Nelson Funeral Home and Cremation Service, P.O. Box 1548, Gaylord, MI 49734.

23 comments on “Harry M. Becker”

  1. Harry, you will be missed by so many. You touched so many lives you have no idea the impact you had on those that knew you. Rest In Peace 🙏🏻 May the angel guide you.

  2. A good man and great neighbor. I always looked forward to our picket-fence conversations, and learned a lot from a wise man.

  3. I know Harry didn’t know me very well but every time we met in the clubhouse, he treated me as one of his best friends. God Bless him and his family. May he rest in peace!

  4. May my condolences bring you comfort and may my prayers ease the pain of the loss of Harry. He was a long time friend and I cherish the memories and chats we shared over the years. Rest in Peace.

  5. We offer our deepest sympathy on the passing of Harry…. your father, husband, grandfather, and friend.
    May the Lord grant him eternal rest and God Bless your entire family with His Grace.
    Your entire family will be in our prayers.
    Scott and Sharon Morgan

  6. I’m so glad I got to meet and spend time with Uncle Harry. He was a fun and intelligent man and a great dad to his family.

  7. Bob Cherwinski

    Dave Becker and family. Sorry for your loss. Your dad was a good guy. I would see him at football
    Games and he would just start talking about many a thing.
    Many memories.

  8. Dave and Michelle Brown

    Shirley, Ronald, Dave, and family,

    Harry was a kick in the pants, and was always a joy when he visited the Animal House. May God provide strength and comfort at this time.

    Matt 5:4

  9. Dear Dave and Joan,

    I was so saddened to see this! What a wonderful man he was. The love for his family, grandkids, yards and Big Lake will be hard to match! So lucky you are to have had him as a father and guiding light!

    Sending love and sorrow,

    Tammy Seidell

  10. Shirley, Ron, Dave and Family,

    Your husband, father, grandfather and my uncle will be missed. May he enjoy reuniting with all those that have passed before him. His job here is done.

    Rest In Peace Uncle Harry!

    Betty, Duane and Zachary Kokinda

  11. Shirley, Ron, Dave and family,

    We are so very sorry for your/our loss. Your husband, father, grandfather and my uncle will be missed. His job here is done.

    Rest In Peace Uncle Harry!

    Betty, Duane and Zachary

  12. To all the Becker Family,
    Harry was a real ” light” in this world. He was a strong mentor and certainly helped welcome our family to Northern, MI many years ago. We have been blessed to have known him. Please accept our condolences and love in your time of loss. God Bless,
    Jim & Kathy Mills

  13. Shirley, Ron, and Dave,
    So sorry to hear that Harry has passed. Every memory I have of seeing him and you from the house in Gaylord to the Animal House and the house in Ojai are all happy ones! I was always impressed by what a good man and great Dad he was. If it wasn’t for you and Harry being from California, I might not have made it out there myself, so thank you for that.
    May he rest in peace
    Jon Pieti

  14. Barb (Fulcher) Abel

    Dave, Joan and Becker family…..my sincerest condolences. I’ve met many on my journey in life, Harry is one of my most memorable, so happy to have known and worked for/with him. One of the happiest, caring people ever. Prayers to all.

  15. To the Becker Family: I am so sorry for your loss!!!!! I’m so sorry I’m unable to be there, but I hold you all in my arms tightly!!!! He will be so missed by all, I will miss hearing from him and our talks!!! Rest in peace Uncle Harry we will all MISS you!!!!!

  16. Andrea Sullivan

    Rest in peace Harry, you surely earned it. What a great life! My condolences to Dave, Joan and all the other Beckers.

  17. Harry was an all-around good guy and a true gentleman. He was highly regarded in the Gaylord community.

  18. So sorry to hear of Harry’s passing. I did work at his house for years doing his windows. He and his wife were always friendly and down-to-earth good people.
    I also worked for Shell Oil under his leadership in about 1975. He was a fair good gentleman to his employees. He will be missed.

  19. Shirley, Dave and siblings-
    It’s so saddening to hear that Harry is now gone, he’s dearly missed but now with the Lord. My prayers continue for your healing and strength.
    Lots of Love,
    Diane Grisso

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