My friend, who recently lost her mother, has some intriguing heirloom pins, including one with a Scottish Rite symbol and another we were able to identify as Knights Templar. I remember, from a RootsTech 2013 presentation, and from an earlier presentation by Dan Lynch, author of Google Your Family Tree, that it is possible to search for matching images. So, we’re going to give it a try.
While there may well be several stories and accomplishments I could describe about Joe Becker, most would not be complete without giving credit to my mother, Gerry Becker. While Joe was the personality and salesman, Gerry was the one who followed through. She spent many late nights in her office at our house, where I remembering stopping in to visit after being out with some kind of activity during high school, and she would postpone her work to give me her undivided attention. I hope that I didn’t cause her to stay up too much later. She was a good role model for my sisters and me, showing us the value of hard work and dedication to a job well done.
Married in 1954, Joe and Gerry moved to Tulsa in 1955, raised the three of us girls and eventually welcomed sons-in-law and six grandchildren into the family. And on 27 Feb 2013, they celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary.
Even before they were married, Joe had Gerry crewing for him. They had met through church, and he used to tell us that he married her for her TV. He was involved in Snipe Fleet 1 at the White Rock Sailing Club in Dallas, where they would his Snipe, #8645. When they relocated to Tulsa, they brought the Snipe with them, making news in the Tulsa paper when using a hoist to launch the boat at its new home – Lake Yahola and Sequoyah Yacht Club (I’ll have to find which newspaper and which issue, and let you know, but the photo I am posting here appears to have been a scan of the original print, not the printed newspaper article).
While Joe was on the road for business, Gerry gradually made friends in Tulsa, being involved in gardening club and creating a beautiful yard with Joe’s help. They had sailing friends, of course, and friends at the newly-formed New Haven Methodist Church. She also taught Spanish before school at nearby Carnegie Elementary School and when my sisters and I became involved in Camp Fire Girls there, she served as a leader and eventually was given responsibility for the entire Camp Fire program at Carnegie.
But, she had a good understanding of business and was the person who “did the books, first for Becker Sales Co., the oilfield supply business, which was the incentive for their move from Dallas when Joe’s father, Jack Becker, invited Joe to partner with him; and then for Tulsa Sail-Craft, the “sailboat business” that Joe and Gerry decided to start in 1966. She would type just about every invoice, sales ticket, letter, and envelope as well as tallying income and expenses, and determining that the sailboat business was going to last. Joe must have typed some, too – letters, probably – because I remember getting in trouble with him for leaving the caps lock on when playing with the typewriter while it wasn’t in use.
And when Joe decided to host a national regatta here in the Tulsa area (which he did more than once), Gerry was the one who pulled everything together behind-the-scenes.
She had attended business school along with studying Spanish and French at the University of Texas at Arlington, and had always lived in Texas. She didn’t initially think much of the idea of moving to Oklahoma and probably secretly wished that they would one day return to Dallas, her home town. But when Tulsa Sail-Craft closed its doors in 1998, after 32 years, they had made Tulsa their home.
Although they no longer sail or run a business, Gerry stays pretty busy keeping Joe in line and making sure that he has good care. She is a happy resident of the independent living center where she now lives, not far from all three of her daughters, and she is still gardening and keeping the books. She has also developed an interest in genealogy, which she tells people is because she felt that I would have enough to do trying to learn about my dad’s side and she wanted to take on the responsibility of her side of the family.
We had a nice visit with my dad and mom today, where we reminisced a little about Snipe #8645 and the newspaper covering the launching at Lake Yahola, along with the latest news of the grandchildren.
Happy Mother’s Day to my mother, Gerry Becker!
For years, I have been gathering information about my dad that I have been planning to compile in some way and share with my family. Sharing the resulting story with him was always a part of the plan, but since we never want to consider that we may lose our family, I have always found it hard to get started, even when my dad is in his nineties.
Because of my being a genealogist and family historian, and because of my fascination with technology and my always wanting to “kill two birds with one stone,” I have decided that blogging about my dad, while he is still able to read and understand what I’m writing, will be the best way for me to begin.
Being so close to him now, and being somewhat of a timid writer, I don’t know that I will be able to adequately articulate all that should be said about my dad, who is known to many people in the Tulsa area – especially the sailors. But I think that if I can at least get started I will be successful in some way, and my dad will be able to read and see the photos, which should bring back some happy memories.
He introduced lots of people to sailing, helping to match them to the right boat, and in many cases to the right sailing club or marina. He was well known to the sailing community, even after we closed the family sailboat dealership, Tulsa Sail-Craft, in 1998. Although he lost his “equilibrium” several years ago, limiting his ability to get around and forever tearing him away from sailing, my dad will always identify himself as a sailor. I hope he knows that his impact on the local sailing community will not soon be forgotten.
I have created a page on this blog for comments, to serve as a modified guest book. See the link at the top left for “Joe Becker – My Dad.” Please comment with well wishes, or stories you’d like to share, or sailing or family news. I will be sure to pass them along.
I presented a new lecture on the Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes yesterday at the 2012 Federation of Genealogical Societies National Conference in Birmingham, Alabama. The syllabus provided to attendees had links that were not clickable, so I am providing the syllabus for the lecture here.
Later today I will be presenting two additional lectures. Here are the live-link handouts for those two lectures:
My lectures at this conference are being recorded and will be available for sale. I’ll need to get the details and get back with you.
I have been creating a huge body of work on the topic of organizing genealogy records, a topic that has just about always interested me. I have given presentations on the topic of organization in the past, usually titling it, “Information Overload.” Information is what we are trying to organize, after all. Genealogists have collected and generated information in the form of paper, for the most part, for decades. And now that we have digital capabilities (or at least most of us do) we are probably all working with a hybrid of systems – part filing cabinet, boxes, or three-ring binders, and part computer files – JPEGs, PDFs, .Docs, some created in databases, and some audio or video files. The electronic files could be on our personal computers, our mobile devices, or online.
I am working toward presentation of a lecture at the upcoming, 2012 Federation of Genealogical Societies’ Conference in Birmingham, Alabama, “Indians, Squatter, Settlers, and Soldiers in the ‘Old Southwest,’” to be held August 29-September 1. My lecture, “Information Overload: Organizing Your Genealogy Records,” is scheduled for the afternoon of Thursday, August 30, and is intended for the beginner level genealogist. Download the Conference Brochure here: fgs_2012registrationbooklettopress.
In anticipation of my need to organize (”reign in”) the myriad of ideas and techniques that I have assembled on the topic, I scheduled a preliminary presentation for the Tulsa City-County Library’s Family History Month, organized by Kathy Huber, MLS, the genealogy librarian, for Saturday, July 7 – last Saturday. The turnout was overwhelming. There were 150 attendees for this afternoon session of a Saturday for which two other programs were also presented – all were appropriate for all levels, but helpful for even those who had been researching their families for decades. I saw faces of some that I know are not new to genealogy, but from a show of hands there were probably at least 30 there who were newcomers. Frossard Auditorium at Hardesty Library was packed – making for the kind of venue where, instead of having an empty chair between you and the stranger next to you, there is hardly an empty seat. This was, I think, indicative of a desire of many to get started, especially with the current attraction and potential effectiveness of online searching – something that was certainly not a part of my own beginning interested in my family’s history. Of course the cool library (take that either way) was the place to be on such a hot, Oklahoma day, and it accounted for some attendance, but so did the scores of area residents, as well as those who made the drive from outside Tulsa, because they had experienced TCCL’s successful programming during its Family History Month in previous years. Download a PDF guide to July’s Family History Month programming here.
Because of the crowds, not everyone present received the handout, and so Liz Walker of the Genealogy Center has made a PDF version available on the Genealogy Center’s section of the TCCL website. To download the file, click on the link to Information Overload. You’ll have the option to print it out, or read and save it on your computer or mobile device – just as you often will have with your genealogy records going forward.
During the presentation, which is in definite need of improvement before the FGS Conference, I mentioned a plan to post some links here on my blog. I had been developing a list using my account on Evernote.com, posting the links and a brief description into a “note” in Evernote as I encountered them as I followed various leads online. Here is the list:
I hope to write again soon with tips on organization of your genealogy records. To sign up to receive an email of future blog posts, enter your email address in the second box on the left (Feed My Inbox will be sending the emails).