Ralph S. Becker

March 14, 1925February 11, 2013

FORT WORTH -- Ralph Becker, born March 14, 1925, passed away Monday, Feb. 11, 2013. Funeral: 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Fort Worth. Interment: 1 p.m. Monday in Memorial Oaks Cemetery in Houston. Visitation: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Shannon Rose Hill Funeral Chapel. Ralph grew up in northern Illinois. He proudly served his country as a navigator in the 8th Air Force, flying 28 missions during World War II. He began his brilliant and distinguished academic career at University of Vermont continuing on to the University of Hampshire where he completed a master's, finishing with a Ph.D. at Florida State University. Professor Becker taught at the University of Houston for 37 years and was the first recipient of the coveted Ester Farfel Award for faculty excellence in 1978. Actively engaged in research, he published books, papers and articles that influenced thinking in photophysics and photochemistry. He actively pursued his passion for research with his colleagues in Europe until 2011. Ralph was an explorer and lover of life. He touched many people with his wit, intellect and contagious sense of humor. He was generous to a fault both with his time and financial resources. Mr. Becker was part of the greatest generation. He was preceded in death by his son, Mark Korry Becker. Survivors: He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Phyllis Becker; daughter, Sherryl Becker; daughter, Janet Becker-Wold and son-in-law, Bob Wold; grandchildren, Madeline Rose and Anna Louse; son, Scott Becker; stepson, Michael Irvin and wife, Lori, and children, Emmy and Quinn.


  • Funeral Service Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ralph S. Becker

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Sergio Seixas de Melo

February 21, 2013

It was with deep sadness that we received the news that Prof. Ralph Sherman Becker was no longer between us. However, after an immediate and deep impact we were lead to remember the man and scientist with whom we had the privilege to work with. Prof. Ralph Becker was one world reference scientist in photochemistry/photophysics. He initiated his studies in the 1940's and was working actively until one week ago when we received his last email; more than half a century with a deep passion for scientific discoveries in photochemistry and photophysics. A longevity that was only possible for someone deeply in love with this science. He taught us that we could write a photophysical story for any molecule, like any man has its own book of life; and if we had triplet and singlet data, even better. He wrote more than 140 papers to, in his own words, the world book encyclopaedia. He came to Portugal in the 1980's and felt in love with this country where during the next decade he came back almost every year for a period of 1-3 months; not only by its sun (how adequate for a photochemist) but also because he was in home with his science: “Portugal has more photophysicists per square meter than any other country in the world” (PP2000). In ITQB (Oeiras, a place that he adored) we had the chance to work with him unveiling the mysteries behind coumarins, beta-carbolines, chromenes, etc. He was also a visionary when he worked with us in the thiophene oligomers ("every one will be looking for the polymer and we have the data from the oligomers") which is still, for some of us, one of the most quoted work and considered a high impact work since the polythiophenes are nowadays amongst the most important conjugated polymers for materials applications; but also with the "vibronic effect" where he was heavily engaged to dispute the conventional wisdom on photochemistry. Prof. Ralph Becker was so inspiring that we celebrate his 75th anniversary in 2000 with a special meeting in Estoril: Photochemistry and Photophysics 2000 (PP2000) where more than 100 top photophysicits manage to get together (M. Kasha, M. El-Sayed, J. Michl, ...) celebrating photochemistry and Ralph Becker.
But besides the professor and scientist he was a friend that care with us. There are memories that will always be present in our minds; to us those magnificent days in ITQB-Oeiras with Prof. Ralph Becker will always be present with a special color and bright. To Phyllis is adorable wife our sincere and deepest condolences. But you have had the luck to share the life of a very special man!
Portugal, February 14, 2013
From his Portuguese friends,

Antonio Maçanita, Fernando Dias and Sergio Seixas de Melo

Georgia Olsen Maberry

February 20, 2013

Ralph had such a passion for everything he did! It was an honor to know him. Phyllis, I am so sorry for your loss. I know you will miss him terribly. I also know you find comfort in knowing he is free and having a ball in heaven.
Love you,

scott becker

February 19, 2013

i never knew how much i loved you. God Bless you dad. i love you.

Ruth & Fred Stoerkel

February 19, 2013

Dear family,

We remember Ralph with fondness and especially remember his boundless energy and great smile. He came into the family 27 years ago and we know memories of his life-lived and his love of family, education, and adventure will always be remembered and cherished.

God bless and be with you in the days and weeks ahead.
Ruth & Fred Stoerkel
Houston, Texas

Susan Sciacca

February 18, 2013

May God bless Mr. Becker's loved ones and family during this difficult time.

Anita Doyle, RN

February 13, 2013

Dr. Becker's candle burns brilliantly here on earth and will continue to guide him on his path toward and through eternity....

I am privileged to have known him...even if only for a short while... Happy Travels Dr. Becker... Anita G. Doyle, RN

Wade and Sandra Irvin

February 13, 2013

Our heartfelt condolences to Phyllis and all the family. We are so sorry for your loss. May the saviour give you strength and a quiet peace in the days ahead.