OBITUARY

Norbert Karl Becker

9 October, 194424 March, 2021

Born in Ripin, Germany and immigrated to Canada in Dec. 1951 with his parents Lucie (nee Wolff) and Karl. Norm never forgot how his life started out. He always liked to have lots of packages to open at Christmas time, perhaps because his first Christmas present in Canada was a plastic cup. He learned English quickly, mostly in self-defense. Norm attended Patterson High School, followed by the University of Windsor, graduating with the Engineering Class of 1967 and earning his Ph.D. in 1970. He almost failed his first year because he was very busy learning to play Bridge, meeting girls, and tasting the fine Canadian beer.

His life changed when he met Mary Ellen (nee Jurgeleit) from Detroit and within 2 weeks of meeting, they knew their future was a life together. They married in May 1967 and were truly blessed with daughter Laura in 1973 and son Kurt in 1974. Norm loved them dearly and the arrival of his granddaughter Elsa in 2005 gave him one more blessing to love.

Norm is survived by his beloved wife Mary Ellen, sister-in-law Ericka Weisberg (Steve), daughter Laura (Shawn), son Kurt, granddaughter Elsa, cousin Marga (nee Somschor) Pattison & husband Clif, and their son Christopher (Mary), boys Owen & Eric. Also, by longtime family friend Elfriede Kreschner Andries.

Norm loved being an Engineer. His hobby was Engineering, his interest was Engineering, his life was Engineering. Sometimes his wife reminded him that he had a wife and 2 children. Norm was certified to practice in Ontario, Manitoba, Newfoundland, Alberta and Saskatchewan. He worked throughout Canada as well as projects in Egypt, Nigeria, Yemen, Peru and China.

He was Deputy Manager, MM Dillon Ltd.; Vice President Operations, Collavino Inc.; Founder of Becker Engineering Group; and President of N.K. Becker Inc. Norm was honored with numerous awards from his Profession, his University, his Province and his Community. He was deeply passionate about helping immigrants, single parent families and feeding the less fortunate.

A celebration of his very incredible life will happen once the pandemic allows it. If you wish, donations may be made to Peace Lutheran Church (Food Bank), 1985 Rossini Blvd., Windsor N8W 4P6.

Norm thanks you.

An Article from Windsor Engineering (pg. 16 & 17): DONAR IMPACT

THE HUMANITARIAN ENGINEER MEET DR. NORM BECKER

Norm Becker’s contribution to the engineering profession is incomparable. Dr. Nihar Biswas, UWindsor environmental engineering professor, says that not only did Becker mentor him, he’s inspired hundreds of UWindsor engineering students.

“Norm is a true role model who instills confidence and integrity in our students and, while succeeding in the engineering profession, has given back so much to the community,” Dr. Biswas says about the University of Windsor alumnus who’s spent his 51-year career working on complex engineering projects across North America, the Middle East, Africa, South America, the Caribbean and China.

Although Dr. Becker P.Eng. BASc ’67, PhD ’70 has worked all over the globe, he always maintained a close relationship with UWindsor. He even brought — and sometimes paid the cost out of his own pocket — engineering students with him on his pro bono projects across the country and in rural China.

For more than three years, Becker recruited engineers, students and trades people to design and plan water filtration systems for villages in the Chinese province of Shandong. While there, Becker and his team of volunteers took time to rebuild a fire-damaged medical clinic that sat unused for more than a year.

“Every school-aged child in the village inspected our work daily and charmed us with their smiles,” says Becker. “I think a few of them may aspire to become engineers themselves.”

Over the last 18 years, he has mentored more than 50 UWindsor undergraduate students. The UWindsor adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering and founder and president of The Becker engineering Group of consulting companies has hired Windsor undergraduate and graduate students since 1970.

“It hasn’t been a one-way street,” says Becker. “They have been generous in sharing their experiences with me, as well.”

Becker even funded the Faculty of Engineering’s annual Cameron MacInnis Memorial Award, the annual Tom Akeley Memorial Award and, most recently after visiting campus in 2017, the Class of 1967 Civil Engineering Scholarship in partnership with his classmates. He was recognized as an Outstanding Philanthropist in 2010 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and in 2011 received UWindsor’s Clark Award, which recognizes individuals who have increased the profile and reputation of the university.

Although he often traveled the globe to help the less fortunate, much of his pro bono work has taken place in the city he’s called home since he and his parents landed here in 1951 as refugee immigrants from East Germany.

Becker and the member companies of his engineering group have sponsored more than 25 local pro bono projects, including restoration of the All Saints’ Anglican Church and an historic Harrow cemetery; construction of the Turkey Creek Pedestrian Bridge and the Const. John Atkinson Memorial Bridge; design and installation of the Underground Railroad National Historic Site monument, a Field of Dreams monument for the Windsor and Essex County Cancer Centre Foundation, and a monument in tribute to members of the community who provide moral and financial support to the victims of Alzheimer’s Disease and their families.

Dr. Paul Henshaw, head of the university’s Civil and environmental Engineering Department, says he has always admired Becker’s versatility as an engineer.

“From water treatment systems in China, to accident investigation in North America, to designing — and building without the use of heavy machinery — a pedestrian bridge in LaSalle, he has shown how the engineering process can be successfully applied in a number of situations,” says Dr. Henshaw. “His pro bono work also demonstrates the often unseen work of engineers in benefiting the public. He exemplifies the two pillars upon which successful engineering is based: skill and ethics.”

Using his profession to help others is paramount to the engineering professor. During Becker’s time as a councilor with Professional Engineers Ontario, he developed a comprehensive pro bono action plan focused on mobilizing licensed Professional Engineers in Ontario to become more pro-active in donating their professional services to help charities, service clubs and non-profit organizations implement community projects.

In addition, Becker has completed more than 1,000 forensic engineer investigations into major building, infrastructure and industrial losses resulting from explosions, fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes and other disasters. He has even given expert evidence at more than 50 trials, inquests, tribunals, and hearings.

But Becker says he isn’t a “self-made man.”

“I have been married to Mary Ellen for 51 blissful years. Both she and our two children rolled up their own sleeves and worked on many of my pro bono projects, including those we completed in rural China, which enriched our lives and reduced our waistlines. My personal and professional life have been closely intertwined.” WE

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Memories

Norbert Karl Becker

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Neil MacEwan

9 April 2021

Hello to Norbert’s family

I had the pleasure of teaching Norbert math in high school
He was outstanding then, and seeing his bio, he had a very
impressive engineering career

Losing a beloved one is not a pleasant experience,
and as a Christian myself, comfort is available via Jesus.....and I will continue to pray for you that you will be able to work through your grief knowing
TRUTH.......which will be a source of comfort
We all look forward to seeing our loved ones again,, and judging by what’s happening in the world these days, HIS return is so much closer
God’s blessings on all of you, as you deal with your sorrow

Neil MacEwan

Greg Banks

7 April 2021

I've worked with Norm on many occasions over the last 15 years. He was an original, a real character and a true professional.

Dan Piescic

3 April 2021

My sincere condolences to Norm's family and friends. Norm was an incredibly intelligent, talented and articulate Engineer. I had the pleasure of working for Norm years ago and he was a great mentor and roll model. May he rest in peace.

norma and bill smith

2 April 2021

Norma and I were deeply saddened to hear of Norms passing. He was a kind and generous person with a great sense of humour. It was always a pleasure to be in his and Mary Ellens company. How fortunate we were to have known him. Sincere condolences to Mary Ellen and her family. May he rest in peace.

Julie Gauthier

1 April 2021

To the Becker family.
We were so sorry to hear of Norm's passing. He was a good friend to our father Louis Scodeller as we have many fond memories of the visits and friendship between the two of them....even when our father was in an assisted living home. He respected Louis' Italian heritage and would bring salami and cheese so they could lunch together there.
Norm was a good man who lived his life in service to this world....a great legacy that you can be proud of.
Julie Gauthier (Scodeller)
Orf and Cathy Scodeller

James Norton

1 April 2021

Dear Norm - the expert I turned to for "all things concrete". I first met you back in the early 1980's when I just started practicing law. I got your name from W. Donald Lilly Q.C. who you had known before. I had some case about concrete underground garages which were a huge problem in the day. From that time forward, we aged together and I retained you as soon as I got any file involving concrete issues so the other side could not. In fact, even though you have been telling me you were winding down, we just completed our work together in February - a successful result due to you. I am going to miss you Norm. I always enjoyed working together and your knowledge was entrancing. I have lost a friend. James

Rupp Carriveau

1 April 2021

Dr. Becker came to my class in 1st Year to give a guest lecture about Engineering as a career. He set many influential benchmarks for me that day so long ago - incredible for one lecture to be so impactful. That's the kind of man he was. I later reconnected with him as a Faculty Member when he visited us for his Class of 67 Reunion. He and his classmates were such a warm, benevolent, and inspiring group - UWin is so lucky to have them in the Family. Your work lives on Dr. Becker.

Colleen Callegari

31 March 2021

Wonderful professional, sorry to hear of his passing. Provided our company with many opportunities and his expertise in engineering.
Always a great pleasure to work with him.

Colleen Callegari (Late John Callegari)
formerly Callegari Construction.

Julian Lunardi

31 March 2021

I will never forget Norm. He gave me my first job after graduating. He truly was a person who thought outside the box. I was always impressed with his ideas and projects. I remember him saying as he pointed to his head “All the tools I need to do my job are in here”.

My deepest condolences go out to his family.

Tami Vickerd

31 March 2021

So sad to hear of Mr. Becker's passing. I was so fortunate to have worked for him as my first job out of college. He was the kindest most encouraging man. He made sure to take great care of his employee's. I learned so much working there and will never forget his kindness. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. 🙏

From the Family