O’Neill — Donovan Joseph Becker, 78, O’Neill, died Aug. 5, 2013, at his home in O’Neill.
Funeral services were Aug. 12 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, O’Neill. Father James Netusil officiated.
Honorary pallbearers were Bob Berigan, Larry Schaffer, Jim Earley, Cap Dierks, Roy DeMars, Jack Henderson, Boyd Strope, Marv Fritz, Jess Wills, Ed Pavel, Dave Cole and Ron Riley.
A private family inurnment will take place at a later date in the O’Neill Cemetery.
Biglin’s Mortuary, O’Neill, was in charge of arrangements.
Donovan was born Sept. 9, 1934, in Bow Valley, to Ludwig and Mary Ann Becker. His family moved from Cedar County in Nebraska to O’Neill in 1952. He graduated from St. Mary’s High School and attended Creighton University, Omaha, for a year before entering the service. After receiving an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army in 1956, he returned to Creighton University for a semester before deciding to purchase the O’Neill Beverage Company in 1956. He married Lorraine Simonson Feb. 23, 1957. They were blessed with five children. Don was a man of strong convictions and was tireless in his efforts. He expanded the O’Neill business to include beer distributorships in Norfolk and Grand Island. The business then became known as Becker Distributing Company of O’Neill, Norfolk and Grand Island. Soon after, he added a line of wines and spirits. He also had two sideline businesses: The Vending Company in Norfolk and the Water Company in O’Neill.
Traveling the distances to manage his businesses necessitated him piloting his own Piper Arrow Airplane. Flying became one of the joys of his life. He continued the operation of Becker Distributing Company until 1998 at which time he sold the last of the distributorships.
With his strong work effort he had no desire for retirement. He continued to operate The Water Company and proceeded to build a 210-unit self-storage facility in O’Neill which he managed until recently, when he began losing his four and one half year battle with cancer.
Don was a devout Catholic and a member of St. Patrick’s Parish, O’Neill. Over the years, he served on many parish boards and committees. As a past member of the Archdiocesan Board of Education, he was principle in establishing the O’Neill St. Mary’s Foundation. He was a lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus, a member of the American Legion and a 57-year member of the O’Neill Chamber of Commerce.
He spearheaded the planning and building of the Evergreen Assisted Living Center, O’Neill, and was acting president of the board of directors since it’s inception in 2000.
Don was a devoted husband, father and grandfather.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Lorraine; five daughters and sons-in-law, Julie and Robert Owens, O’Neill; Lauren and Michael Hupp, Omaha; Kate and Don McKelvoy, Huntsville, Ala.; Kristin and Ross Turrentine, Alpharetta, Ga.; and Carolyn and Don Hearon, Tacoma, Wash.; eight grandchildren, Annie, Ellie and Will Hupp; Jack and Sam Turrentine; and Nicholas, Michael and Libby Hearon; one sister, Roberta Kauppert, Kyle, Texas; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; one sister, Barbara Curry; and one brother, James Becker.
Memorials are suggested to the O’Neill St. Mary’s Educational Foundation.