Battalion Chief Francis Howard Becker, a longtime resident of Wichita, passed away the evening of May 2, 2013 due to complications from a stroke. He was 83 years old. Howard was born on January 18, 1930 in Goddard, Kansas. Howard was one of eleven children. After graduating from Garden Plain High School, he enlisted in the United States Army. In 1956, Howard began his career as a firefighter. He was later promoted to Battalion Fire Chief, and he served in that role until he retired on April 18, 1993. Howard was tireless in his dedication to serving the people of Wichita, and as of the time he retired, he was the longest serving firefighter in the history of the Wichita Fire Department. Howard's big family meant the world to him. He married the love of his life, Willella Sue (Boltjes) Becker at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita on April 27, 1957.
Howard and Willella were loyal parishioners of All Saints Catholic Church. He was an avid sports fan and loved playing golf. Howard also was well known for having a wonderful sense of humor and being a practical joker. Preceded by his parents Arthur and Mary Becker, brothers Bernard, George and Joseph Arthur "Butch" and sister Cecelia Becker. Survived by his loving wife of 56 years Willella and their five children, Sue (Rick) Becker Lebens of Chesterfield, MO; Dennis Becker of Wichita; Kim (Dean) Becker Weakley of Wichita; Becky (Brownie) Brown of Wichita; Eric (Amanda) Becker of Atlanta, GA, grandchildren: Melissa Lebens Stiegler, Richard Lebens III ; Courtney Mae Becker ; Nate and Molly Thompson and Presley Jane Becker, great-grandchildren Richard Lebens IV and Helmut Christian Stiegler III, brother Harold Becker, sisters Mildred Landwehr, Norma Jean Kowal, Theresa Linnebur, Anna Mae Pracht, and Katie Cruz. He will be missed so much by his loving family, his many friends, and his brethren firefighters. He truly was one of the best.
Visitation with family present 6pm-8pm, Tues. May 7 at DeVorss Flanagan-Hunt Mortuary. Rosary, 10am and Funeral Mass 11am both on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at All Saints Catholic Church, 3205 E. Grand Street, Wichita, KS 67218.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Howard's name to The Kansas Firefighters Museum, 1300 S. Broadway, Wichita, KS 67211 or to All Saints Catholic Church.