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Jerry Lee Becker 1940 - 2021
Jerry Lee Becker

Jerry Lee Becker, 81, passed away on Nov. 6, 2021, at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Mo. Jerry was a private pilot, salesman, businessman, boating enthusiast, and devoted family man.

Jerry was born Sept. 26, 1940 in Great Bend, Kan., the son of Elmer and Bernice Becker. Entering adolescence in the 1950s, he was a mischievous teenager, frequently drag racing the streets and highways of Barton County, much to the chagrin of his paternal grandfather Lou Becker, who was sheriff at the time. Looking back years later, Jerry’s only regret was that he didn’t keep that 1957 Chevy.

Jerry met the love of his life, Janice Margaret Keller (Becker) during high school band class. With Jan sitting in front of him, he would “accidentally” tap her with the end of his trombone. Thus began a courtship that would lead to nearly 60 years of marriage. The two obviously adored each other, which could easily be seen just by the way they looked at one another.

Their storybook marriage, romance and love began with a beautiful wedding at St Frances Xavier Church in Seward, Kan. on June 10, 1961. Their marriage was blessed by God with four children: Bradley James, Gregory Lee, Diane Marie and Michael Jon. Thirteen grandchildren: Luke, Ryan, Zachary, Jordyn, Lindsey, Malorie, Natalie, Matthew, Haley, Jace, Cole, Cannon and Ainsleigh. Two step grandchildren Dylan and Natalie. Five great grandchildren: Wesley, Grayson, Claire, Connor and Ellie.

For years, the couple owned a boat and hosted events for family at the lake nearly every weekend of the summers. They taught their children and grandchildren how to waterski. Not satisfied to be confined to the earth, Jerry obtained his private pilot’s license and owned a small plane. He took his family and friends on their first of what would be many airplanes rides. He had a lifelong love of cars, boats, planes, and pretty much anything that went fast and had a big engine. As such, he was a frequent attendee at car shows and air shows.

Jerry and Jan took some of his greatest enjoyment in life from spending time with his children and grandchildren. His children were lucky to be spoiled with big birthday and holiday celebrations. This would include lakes, sand pits, pools (some of which were aka horse tanks), horses, dogs, cats, hamsters, motorcycles, boats, airplanes and cool cars when his children were old enough to drive.

He literally had enough bicycles in his garage so that every grandchild would have one to ride. He installed a pool, owned video game systems, and even set up rope swings and tree houses in his yard for the grandchildren to enjoy. This resulted in lifelong smiles and feelings of happiness for the whole family and those lucky enough to be invited to Becker family gatherings.

Jerry and Jan generously volunteered their time and resources both serving as President and on the board of directors of the Argonne Rebels Inc. a not for profit organization. He was very proud of granddaughter Jordyn Kennedy when she took on a leadership position with the Argonne cheer team.

Jerry and Jan adopted and loved all the kids that participated in the decades of colorguards, and marching Corps of 1977 to 1984. They were extremely proud of and loved all their drum corps and color guard children. He always made sure that lots of hours of practice was rewarded with something fun.

Having marched in the Argonne Rebels Horn Line in his youth and getting to enjoy the thrill of traveling to the VFW Drum Corps Championships in Boston, convinced Jerry of the importance of the Argonne Rebels organization and its positive impact on Barton County’s youth.

Jerry also was elected and served on the school board for USD 428 School District.

Jerry and Jan were first and foremost believers in the power and saving grace of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Dad was raised in the Methodist church and joined mom in the Catholic church at marriage. During their lifetime they were members of St Rose, St Patrick’s and Holy Cross Churches. Dad was a eucharistic minister and lector at St Rose, and St Patricks. Both Dad and Mom were active as youth ministers at the house of faith charismatic Catholic movement in Great Bend. They were both active in the St Rose scouting troop and very proud of their grandson Jace and Cole being in Cub Scouts, and Boy Scouts. Cole achieved Life Scout and Jace the coveted Eagle Scout.

Jerry’s (with Jan often working beside him) business ventures included Becker Homes and Campers (the 2nd Largest Volume Holiday Rambler Dealer West of Mississippi) and then Kansas Kamper Center, and Becker Tire of Hoisington. His final two with his sons Greg and Mike, Becker Homes and VR Business Brokers of southwest Missouri (managing the very successful fourth Becker Homes location in Hutchinson and helped found the Vr Business Brokerage office in 2012 that finished as top ten VR business brokerage office in the world).

When Jan went back to school in her 40ies to become an elementary school teacher, Jerry was fully behind her educational journey and even gifted her a new car for graduation.

Jerry proudly served in the US Army Reserve, Air National Guard and US Airforce Reserve. He was an entrepreneur and best of the best salesman.

Sadly, in their twilight years, Jan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. For over a decade, Jerry selflessly acted as the caretaker for his beloved wife as she slowly deteriorated. She passed away in April this year, just a month short of the couple’s 60th wedding anniversary.

Love for family endures everything, even death of his soulmate. Jerry was a fighter and was never one to give up and wanted very badly to get back to being independent so he could go visit all his children and grandchildren.

He was so proud of his progress in rehab and general improvement with his heart and kidneys. He very much wanted to catch up with all that he missed with his family during mom’s sickness.

God always has a wiser, better plan than even the best intended ones and He called Jerry home to be with his heavenly wife and family.

On Nov 6 at 6:49 a.m., Jan and all Jerry’s family and friends joyously welcomed Jerry Lee Becker to Heaven.

Ironically, his Grandson Cole’s confirmation (Received Holy Spirit) was that day too. Anyone who knew my Mom and Dad’s love for the Holy Spirit smiled at what they knew was no mere coincidence.

It was definitely a life well lived.

Jerry is survived by his uncle and aunt Larry and Joy Becker; his brother and sister in law Ron and Helen Becker; his sons, son in law and daughter in law: Brad and Sandra Becker, Diane and Travis Grigg, Michael Jon Becker and Gregory Lee Becker and his 13 grandchildren; five great grandchildren; and two grandchildren in law.

Visitation will be held from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 at Bryant Funeral Home, with a Prayer service lead by Pastor Tim Bever at 6:30 p.m., followed by a Catholic Vigil service at 7:15 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 9:45 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Great Bend, with Father Aneesh Parappanattu presiding. Interment will be in Hillcrest Memorial Park, with Military Rites conducted by the Fort Riley Honor Guard. Memorials have been designated to Argonne Rebels, Inc., St. Vincent De Paul Society or Barton County Food Bank, in care of Bryant Funeral Home. Condolences may be sent and notice viewed at

Funeral arrangements provided by

Bryant Funeral Home

1425 Patton Road

Great Bend, KS 67530

Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, Nov. 14, 2021