Loren R. Becker, 69, of Jacksonville, died early Sunday morning, August 5, 2012, at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, Michigan. He was born August 24, 1942, son of John U. and Frances Oxley Becker, attended Jacksonville public schools and graduated from Jacksonville High School in the Class of 1960. He attended Western Illinois University and was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity.
From 1966 until 1968, Loren served in the United States Army at Fort Carson, Colorado as a member of the Veterinary Corps. After returning to Jacksonville, he spent the rest of his life farming, an occupation he dearly loved. In addition to raising corn, soybeans, wheat, and alfalfa, he enjoyed raising cattle and tiling his farm ground. His family moved from Woodson to his current residence, which is the location of the original Jacob Strawn home place, when he was six years old, and he lived in that house until his death.
His connection with the Jacob Strawn farm led him to become interested in The Art Association of Jacksonville, and he became a trustee in 1973, serving in many capacities including President in 1980 and 1981. The Art Association of Jacksonville owns the David Strawn Art Gallery which was built by Jacob Strawn’s widow Phebe Gates Strawn. For much of his life, Loren was interested in the Strawn family history and the preservation of the Strawn Home. His love for art inspired him to take up many forms including woodworking, watercolors, mosaics and stained glass. He also enjoyed his antique cars, and cruising on Crystal Lake near Frankfort, Michigan, in his 1942 Century wooden boat with his family.
In addition to his work with The Art Association of Jacksonville, Loren was a member of the Woodson Presbyterian Church, the Diamond Grove Mausoleum Board, and a former board member of Chapin Farmers Elevator, Pisgah Grain Coop, and the Morgan County Fair Board. He also served two terms as Clerk of Road District #6. He was a member of Woodson Masonic Lodge #1011 beginning in 1966, serving as Master in 1970 and 1971. In addition, he has been a member of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce since 1977, and was inducted into its Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2007. Illinois College awarded him the McGaw Fine Arts Award in 1992.
Loren is survived by his wife, Joy French Becker, his two daughters, Kristan (Bobby) Hoffman, and Elizabeth Becker, two granddaughters, Leah Joy Hoffman and Kolby Dickson Hoffman, and a brother, Weldon, all of Jacksonville, along with his faithful dog, Kyley. In addition, the family would like to thank his favorite caregiver, Becky Grady, for her longtime love and support. He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, John Edgar, and an infant sister, Leanna.
The family will meet friends from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 8, 2012, at the Buchanan & Cody Funeral Home in Jacksonville, with Masonic Rites conducted at 7:30 p.m. A private interment will be held at the Diamond Grove Mausoleum the following day. Memorials are suggested to The Art Association of Jacksonville for the Strawn Art Gallery Roof Fund. Condolences may be left at www.buchanancody.com.