MENDOTA - Donald “Don” Becker, 84, formerly of Mendota, passed away on Sept. 10, 2021 at Cottage Hospital in Galesburg.
Services will be private. Cremation rites have been accorded. Burial will include full military rites by Mendota V.F.W. Post 4079. Wasmer Funeral Home is privileged to assist the family.
Don was born Dec. 21, 1936. He married Maureen Gallagher on Feb. 11, 1961.
Survivors include his wife of Geneseo; one son, Michael (Wendy) Becker of Mendota; two daughters, Jill (Bryce) Schmidt of Eldridge, Iowa and Jennifer (Jim) Marmion of Geneseo; seven grandchildren, Ashley (Zack) Hall, Hannah Becker, Kyle Walter, Anthony (Nina) Marmion, Abbigayle Marmion, Kaitlin Schmidt and Alec Schmidt; one great-granddaughter, Sydney Walter; honorary daughter, Catherine (John) McDowell of Mendota; one sister, Sylvia Leffelman of Sublette; three brothers-in-law, Rick (Gail) Gallagher of Mendota, Tim (Michelle) Gallagher of Visilia, Calif. and Wesley Gillan of Cherry; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; one brother, Richard Becker; and two sisters, Darlene Spriet and Joyce Gillan.
Don was an extremely talented yet humble man. Many, including his wife and children, were not aware of most of his amazing accomplishments. At the age of 19, he was called home from service in the U.S. Army due to the death of his father. He ran the family farm for several years until he decided to pursue his love of mechanics. He worked for Widmer Buick as well as Schimmer’s Chevrolet Buick until he branched out on his own and started Becker Automotive in 1974, which he ran for 45 years until the age of 82. Being a talented and mainly self-taught auto mechanic, he not only fixed cars for others, he was a natural born inventor. He spent much of his quiet time sketching out his ideas on napkins, paper scraps or anything he could write on. One of his inventions was a part for GM cars that was used for several years but his humility kept this quiet. Very few knew of his inventions and accomplishments. Don did not do these things for glory or praise. He simply wanted to make work easier for everyday mechanics like himself.
Don had considered doing mission work or studying to become a priest until he met the love of his life, Maureen Gallagher. He was a natural born teacher, who not only taught his children all he knew, but also mentored high school students through a co-op program with Mendota High School. Over the years, he passed on his knowledge and love for mechanics to countless young men, many of whom are still in that trade. Although many, including his loving family, did not know it, Don battled with dementia for years. After retiring, he and Maureen decided to sell their home and business and retire to Geneseo.
Memorials may be directed to the Alzheimer’s Foundation. Condolences may be left at wasmerfuneralhome.com.