Mar. 17, 1918 Marietta Washington County Ohio, USA
Jun. 23, 2013 Tulsa Tulsa County Oklahoma, USA
Joe was born Joseph Aloysius Becker, Jr., March 17, 1918 in Marietta, Ohio, to Jack and Ruth Holbrook Becker. Because his father was in the oilfield equipment business, the family moved numerous times during the height of the East Texas and Oklahoma oil booms. The family had several Tulsa residences, including one near John Burroughs Elementary School and another across from Woodward Park. He attended Burroughs and Lincoln Elementary Schools and Roosevelt Junior High School. He graduated in 1936 from high school in Houston, Texas and attended Southwestern Louisiana Institute in Lafayette, Louisiana where he studied engineering. During World War II he worked as a draftsman in the Consolidated Ship Yard in Orange, Texas, helping design systems for destroyers. His brother, Dick, was aboard the submarine SS Dorado when it was lost in 1943. Joe captained a shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico, built and operated a photo finishing plant in Dennison, Texas, worked in a cannery in Sitka, Alaska, and worked in the carburetion business in Texas before he met Gerry Kinne, whom he married in Dallas, Texas, Feb. 27, 1954. From his teen years he had a passion for sailing, which rose out of his initial introduction as a Sea Scout. The Sea Scout ship purchased an old lifeboat and converted it into a sailboat. He told of sailing on lakes in Louisiana and Texas, and on the Sabine River. He salvaged and rebuilt, or built several boats after that, settling on the International Snipe class in the late 40's or early 50's. In 1955, Joe and Gerry moved to Tulsa so that he could join his father in the oilfield equipment supply business, which they called Becker Sales Co., but his love of sailing resulted in his changing professions again. He and Gerry established Tulsa Sail-Craft in 1966, first selling Snipes and Dolphins out of the backyard, and then a rented a space when he needed a larger shop and place to stock equipment and accessories. Tulsa Sail-Craft continued operation until Feb. 1998, selling thousands of Catalina 22s, Hobie Cats, Sunfish, and other sailboats to area sailors, sometimes reselling the same boat numerous times. When Joe was approaching 80 and there was less demand for new boats, the family closed the business and sold the building. Joe enjoyed competing in regattas or club races, and worked to improve his finishing positions through the approximately 60 years of sailing Snipes, then the Flying Scot, and finally the Catalina 22. In 1975 and 1976, Joe won the Catalina 22 National Championships. And in 1975, Catalina Yachts arranged for him to sail against the British champion at Windycrest Sailing Club on Lake Keystone. Joe then won the only Catalina 22 International Championships. Through the years Joe competed in Central States Sailing Association (regional) regattas, state championship and other regattas, but he was the dedicated participant in twenty-six Catalina 22 National Regattas, developing lifelong friendships with those who served as his crew and with his competitors. He was an active member of the White Rock Sailing Club in Dallas, then Sequoyah Yacht Club on Lake Yahola, Tsa-La-Gi Yacht Club on Lake Ft. Gibson, and Windycrest, where he and Gerry were some of the original members. He served as regatta chairman of the Catalina 22 National Championships in 1986 at Tsa-La-Gi and in 1993 and 1999, at Windycrest. In 1998 because of his promotion of sailing throughout northeast Oklahoma, his support of the Windycrest Sailing Club, and his touching the lives of nearly every sailor in the area, the Club recognized Joe with the Spirit of Windycrest Award. He was preceded in death by his brother, Richard Holbrook "Dick" Becker, and his son-in-law, Kevin Meehan.