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GenealogyClassBlog » Family

Funeral Services

July 5th, 2013 Posted in Family, Joe Becker, On the Internet | Comments Off
Kevin Meehan and Joe Becker

Kevin Meehan and Joe Becker

Since my last post my family and I have experienced deaths of two or our loved ones.

First, I lost my husband and best friend, Kevin John Meehan on June 16. He was also a friend to many at church and through sailing, and he will be sorely missed.

Then, on June 23 I lost my father, Joe A. Becker, about whom my most recent posts have been focused. At 95, he had outlived many of his contemporaries, but the sailing community remembered him and came out for his funeral service earlier this week.

I have family and friends who were unable to attend the services of one or the other and who would like to have access to the recordings, which were made by Boston Avenue United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. To make the recordings available through this site, I have uploaded the two files, which are in .mp3 format.

Click here to listen to the recordings:

For Kevin John Thomas Meehan, 1957-2013.

For Joseph Aloysius “Joe” Becker, Jr., 1918-2013.

Memorials for each of them are currently available for viewing at, the website of Ninde Funeral Service in Tulsa.

Catalina 22 Championships – the Crew

June 12th, 2013 Posted in Family, Photographs | Comments Off
Joe Becker and crew John Smart with the C22 National Championship traveling trophy, 1976

Joe Becker and crew John Smart with the C22 National Championship traveling trophy, 1976

My mother scanned some of these old sailing photos several years ago and I am glad to have them to share here.

The first is from 1976, with Joe Becker (skipper) and John Smart (crew) next to the 60-pound traveling trophy which was over five feet tall. The third member of the crew was Gerry Gavin of North Sails who had apparently returned to Wisconsin before this photo was taken. Joe and crew had finished first in the 1976 C22 Nationals in Seattle, Washington. John Smart continued to crew for Joe in local races, and when he crewed in Jackson, Mississippi for the 1977 C22 Nationals, I was the other crew member. The winner that year was Dick Durgin, a sailor from the local area. We finished second overall.

Lake Huntington, California, 1985, Joe Becker and crew, Bill Hall, with the entourage

Lake Huntington, California, 1985, Joe Becker and crew, Bill Hall, with the entourage

In 1985, Dr. Bill Hall was Joe’s crew. When Joe was unable to explain being passed by competitor after competitor, Bill dove in to the lake to discover the cause of Luff Affair’s poor performance, and found that a piece of carpet had been stuck to the leading edge of the boat’s keel. The explanation was simple:  the carpet was stuck as a result of a last-minute paint touch-up before Joe had lowered the retractable keel down onto the trailer and onto the protective scrap of carpet placed between the keel and the trailer’s keel-guide.

I can’t recall the name of Bill’s wife at the time, but the other two pictured along with Joe and Bill were my mother, Gerry Becker seated at the left, and my aunt, Sara Becker Coleman of Canoga Park, California, which was ironically very close to Catalina Yachts in Woodland Hills, California.

For the results of the 2013 Catalina 22 Nationals, and for a history of the Catalina 22, visit

Catalina 22 National Championships

June 12th, 2013 Posted in Family, Joe Becker | Comments Off
Joe Becker with Luff Affair and the C22 Nationals trophy

Joe Becker with Luff Affair and the C22 Nationals trophy

The 40th Annual Catalina 22 National Championship Regatta is being held this week in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. A trek to the various locations of this three or four day event was a standard summertime ritual for my father, Joe Becker, and for several of those years for my entire family as well.

In 1975 Joe selected a Catalina 22, sail number 4747, and travelled to Lake Ray Hubbard outside of Dallas, Texas, for the 3rd annual championship regatta. He won the championship that first year and then again the next year on Shilshole Bay in Seattle, Washington. This time, my mother and sisters and I made the trip, and along the way I sketched out a stylized “name” for the transom – “Luff Affair,” which was the creation of my mother, Gerry.

He didn’t win the event again after 1976, but he competed in about 24 of the regattas. With the help of the C22 National Sailing Association’s website and some of our family’s private archives of newspaper clippings and recorded race results, I have put together the beginnings of a record for Joe to see, and to share with any of his friends and supporters, especially any of the past crew that might want to see them.

Catalina 22 #4747 on Puget Sound during the 1976 C22 Nationals, with crew John Smart and Gerry Gavin.

Catalina 22 #4747 on Puget Sound during the 1976 C22 Nationals, with crew John Smart and Gerry Gavin.

The list begins like this:

1973 Long Beach, California – won by Tom Winans
1974 San Francisco, California – won by Gene Carapetyan
1975 Lake Ray Hubbard, Dallas, Texas – won by Joe Becker with John Cameron and two other crew
1976 Shilshole Bay, Seattle, Washington – won by Joe Becker with John Smart and Gerry Gavin as crew (and I was asked to crew for Tom Winans, who finished third)
1977 Jackson, Mississippi – won by Dick Durgin. Joe finished 2nd with John Smart and who else as crew?
1978 Eagle Mountain Lake, Ft. Worth, Texas – won by Bill Culp. Joe was possibly 5th.
1979 Lake Lanier, Atlanta, Georgia – won by Beattie Purcell. I need to find Joe’s finishing position, but I can tell you that Kevin and I were the crew.

Through the years, many sailing friends served as Joe’s crew. I have some photos to share, but I need to find others. If you know of a former crew (or if you were one), please tell them about this little opportunity to reminiscence and share stories about our connections through the C22 sailing family.

Old Sailors Never Die…They Just Get a Little Dinghy

May 31st, 2013 Posted in Conversation, Family | 3 Comments »
Tulsa Sail-Craft ad in The Tulsalite

Tulsa Sail-Craft ad in The Tulsalite

Old Sailors Never Die…They Just Get a Little Dinghy – that was one of my Dad’s favorites, back when those sayings were popular. He wasn’t really a jokester, but he enjoyed lots of little things, like telling stories and hearing stories told about him – mostly sailing stories. His memory doesn’t help him recall everything lately, but he’s been comfortable and happy.

Sometimes he is concerned because he would like to solve some problem out there, but there isn’t much he can do now. He tries to work out how to find someplace to stay, or how he could make some money. Today he said something about trying to improve the wheelchair. I asked him whether he wasn’t the one who designed the centerboard lift system that the members used at Sequoyah Yacht Club to store their boats above the water (instead of having to pull them out after the weekly races), but he said that he doesn’t remember.

He developed a mast carrier for the Catalina 22, and we used to sell them at Tulsa Sail-Craft. With one device, which had a pair of pintles to hook onto the C-22’s gudgeons, he could not only carry the mast, but could lift the mast high enough that he had a good start on raising it the rest of the way by standing on the cabin. He called it his “six-foot friend.”

He designed some other sailing solutions like a way to determine the depth of the water at the boat ramp, and even submitted some to a national sailing magazine (probably Sailing World), which published at least two. He designed a keel guide for helping to load the retractable-keel Catalina 22s onto their trailers, and he loved to design mast-raising systems for larger boats.

I remember staying up late one night at the old “boat yard,” as he built some sturdy, wooden steps so that potential buyers could step up alongside a soon-to-be-displayed boat on a trailer – probably a Catalina 22. The Boat Show would be the next day and so when it was about time to head for home, he started designing and building those steps. I would probably have been too young to drive, and had tagged along with my dad to work that day. I was an unofficial helper, and he probably asked me to hold this, or hand him that, which I did, and he did the hard part. We were in the very small building which housed the “office” and “shop,” at the boat yard on Latimer Court, behind Burkhart’s Marine. Burkhart’s owners, Art and Ruth Burkhart Obermire, sold marine hardware and rented us the space in the back.

Tulsa Sail-Craft would have two more locations after, and had occupied at least one rental space and our backyard before this one, where my dad sold boats in the early 1970’s. My grandfather (and my sisters probably) helped sometimes, and there were a few paid employees, too. Dwayne Nelson told me that he had worked for TSC when it was on Latimer. We visited after the memorial service for his dad, Charlie Nelson, who had taught our sailing school later.

Actually, I had been on the payroll earlier, as well. My sister and I would assemble the sail rigs for the Dolphins that would arrive at our house by the dozen or so, fastening the sails to the spars, and then the spars to the masts, and adding the main sheet and halyard to each rig and binding the long rig together by a chain of slip knots. The photo that shows a newly-arrived Catalina 22 loaded on the back of a pickup truck, also shows some of the Dolphins leaning against Burkhart’s.

If I ask my dad about all of this tomorrow, though, I’m not sure he’ll feel like discussing it. He was feeling very tired tonight.


Gerry Becker – My Mom

May 12th, 2013 Posted in Family, Joe Becker | Comments Off
Gerry Kinne and Joe Becker sailing on White Rock Lake

Gerry Kinne and Joe Becker sailing on White Rock Lake

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).

Gerry and Joe on Snipe #8645

Gerry and Joe on Snipe #8645

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.

Joe and Gerry, launching the Snipe at Lake Yahola

Joe and Gerry, launching the Snipe at Lake Yahola

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!