George H. Becker, 72, elevator repairman who loved clocks

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George H. Becker (center) with brothers John D. (left) and Carl, and their dune buggy entered in the 2003 Baja 1000.

George H. Becker, 72, of Lansdowne, an elevator repairman who so loved clocks that his ashes will be interred in one, died Wednesday, July 12, of cancer at his home.

Mr. Becker never saw a clock he didn’t like. His passion was to repair timepieces of all kinds — tall and short case clocks, mantle clocks, cuckoo clocks, antique clocks, and even the large clock in the tower at Bethany Evangelical Church in Havertown, which he had to reach by ladder.

“If they were tall clocks, he would go to the customer,” said his wife, Cora Lord Becker. “If they were small clocks, he would ask the customer to deliver them to him.”

When he wasn’t repairing clocks, he was prospecting for additions to his clock collection, his wife said.

Mr. Becker requested that he be cremated and his ashes placed in a cuckoo clock.

“I told him that the only way I would agree to that is if he does not come out on the hour and cuckoo,” his wife said. Interment of the timepiece will be private.

Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Becker graduated from Olney High School in 1962, and graduated from the RCA Technical Institute in Cherry Hill.  He studied computer electronics, his wife said.

Mr. Becker served in the Army from 1965 to 1967. Trained as a rifle sharpshooter, he was stationed in Okinawa before being honorably discharged with the rank of specialist, a step between private and corporal.

After his military service, Mr. Becker was employed for four years as a computer repairman for Honeywell, which had corporate clients in the Philadelphia area. Mr. Becker was dispatched to visit their offices.

“This was when computers were the size of rooms and needed their own air conditioners,” Mr. Becker’s wife said. “He was sent to wherever the elevators broke. He rarely went to the home office.”

He took a job at Westinghouse Elevator Corp., which was acquired in 1989 by Schindler Elevator Corp. of Morristown, N.J. He worked in the elevator services department for 40 years before retiring on Sept. 1, 2012.

The Beckers, who met at a Baptist youth retreat, married on Sept. 28, 1968, and reared four children in Lansdowne.

Between 1980 and 1983, the couple fostered 24 children, most of them in sibling groups, through Delaware County’s Office of Children and Youth Services and Catholic Charities. In the mid-1990s, they welcomed into their home three French exchange students and stayed in touch with them over the years.

Mr. Becker was a member of Bethany Evangelical Church, starting in 2000. He was a deacon and served on the property committee.

He was a member of Local 5, International Union of Elevator Constructors and the Old Folks Railroad Club based at the Beatty Lumber Co. in Upper Darby. He was a mentor to the Lansdowne Boys Club.

For more than three decades, ending in 2014, Mr. Becker participated with his brothers, John D. and Carl, in the Baja 1000, an off-road race for motorcycles, cars, modified dune buggies, and trucks in Mexico’s Baja California peninsula.

“He started out with a tricycle, then he switched to a VW Beetle, and then to a dune buggy,” his wife said. “They did well in their class.”

Besides his wife, Mr. Becker is survived by children Susan E. Norton, James G., Penny Freire, and Steven; seven grandchildren; and three brothers..

A visitation beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 22, at Bethany Evangelical Church, 5 N. Concord Ave., Havertown, will be followed by a 10:30 a.m. memorial service.

Memorial donations for cancer research may be made to the Lankenau Medical Center Oncology Department, c/o David Phillips, Lankenau Development Office, 100 E. Lancaster Ave., Wynnewood, Pa. 19096.