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Rev. Donald V. Becker

May 28, 1928 July 30, 2017
Rev. Donald V. Becker
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Obituary for Rev. Donald V. Becker

Donald Victor Becker, age 89 of Oak Park, passed away on July 30, 2017. He was the son of Rev. Alvin and Martha Oetting Becker, and was born in Farley, Missouri, on May 28, 1928. He was baptized at St. John Lutheran Church in Farley, and confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Campbell Hill, Illinois. He graduated from St. Paul Lutheran High School and Junior College, a prep school toward becoming a Lutheran pastor. He entered Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, in 1948. He spent two years working as a vicar (pastoral intern) in the Lutheran Churches of Japan and the Philippines. From this experience he decided that he wanted to serve in churches that included racial and cultural groups other than his own. After graduating from the seminary in 1954, Donald became pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in Emporium, Pennsylvania. From 1958 to 1996 he was pastor of First Immanuel Lutheran Church on the Near West Side of Chicago.

On November 20, 1960, he was united in marriage with Carolyn Gresens. They were blessed with two sons, David and Martin. Carolyn worked with him the entire time of his ministry as deaconess, superintendent of work with children and youth, and administrative assistant. In a community that was constantly changing, a primary goal of the church was a constant outreach to people of all racial and cultural groups, as well as all educational and economic levels, and integrate them into one congregation.

Donald was elected to serve as pastoral counselor to more than a dozen inner city Lutheran congregations. He participated actively in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, as well as other community activities. One of his passions was to help the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod take an active role in racial integration and in civic and political issues that affect the poor. He was given the Seeds of Hope Award from Wheatridge Ministries for his work in the city. After retirement he was the Urban Linkage Coordinator of the Northern Illinois District of the Lutheran Church from 1997-2004.

He was the beloved husband of Carolyn, nee Gresens; loving father of David Becker and Martin (Laura) Becker; cherished brother of Vera (the late Arthur) Crosmer, Marvin (Jean) Becker, Robert (Gloria) Becker, the late Elfred (the late Hildegarde), the late Paul, the late Norbert (Gerry) Becker, the late Irma (the late Robert) Schmidt, and the late Leonard Becker; fond uncle of many nieces and nephews and great nieces and great nephews.

Visitation Friday, August 4th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion St., Oak Park. Visitation, Saturday, August 5th from 9 a.m. until time of service at 11 a.m. at First Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1124 S. Ashland Ave., Chicago. In lieu of flowers, memorials to First Immanuel Lutheran Church are appreciated.

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Previous Events

Visitation

Friday

4

Aug

6:00 PM 8/4/2017 6:00:00 PM - 8:00 PM 8/4/2017 8:00:00 PM
Drechsler Brown & Williams Funeral Home

203 South Marion Street
Oak Park, IL 60302

Drechsler Brown & Williams Funeral Home
203 South Marion Street Oak Park 60302 IL
United States

Visitation

Saturday

5

Aug

9:00 AM 8/5/2017 9:00:00 AM - 11:00 AM 8/5/2017 11:00:00 AM
First Immanuel Lutheran Church

1124 South Ashland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60607

First Immanuel Lutheran Church
1124 South Ashland Avenue Chicago 60607 IL
United States

Funeral Service

Saturday

5

Aug

11:00 AM 8/5/2017 11:00:00 AM
First Immanuel Lutheran Church

1124 South Ashland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60607

First Immanuel Lutheran Church
1124 South Ashland Avenue Chicago 60607 IL
United States

Memorial Contribution

First Immanuel Lutheran Church

1124 South Ashland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60607
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