Obituary: Paul Becker

April 1, 1946 — March 16, 2019


Paul Kruger Becker, 72, passed away peacefully at home on the morning of March 16, 2019 of lung cancer.

Paul was born on April 1, 1946 to Lillian Kruger and Mortimer Ratner in New York City. When Paul was four, he moved to Oxford, OH with his mother, adoptive father David Becker, and brother William (Bill) Becker. As a teenager Paul loved spending time with his friends, racing small sailboats, and doing math for fun and for school. In the summers, while a student at Talawanda High School, he worked at the University of Cincinnati as a programmer of an early mainframe computer.

Paul attended the University of Chicago, where he studied math, philosophical psychology, and how to respond to the prospect of being drafted into the Vietnam War. It was during this time that he was deeply influenced by Professor Eugene Gendlin, who introduced him to Focusing-Oriented psychotherapy, a process for helping the mind listen to the wisdom of the body. Paul carried and shared this skill with others throughout his life. Paul graduated in 1968 with a degree in math, and not long afterward received his conscientious objector draft status.

After earning an M.A. in psychology from the U of C in 1973, Paul moved to San Francisco with his first wife and immersed himself in the culture of the time by playing in a couple of bands, studying the Japanese art of Aikido, repairing stereos, and teaching math at a community college. In 1981 Paul moved to Missoula with his partner and worked as a graduate teaching assistant while pursuing an M.S. in Physics.

In 1983 Paul moved to Seattle, WA and worked as an oceanography research scientist at the University of Washington, studying arctic sea ice. Four years later Paul began working as a computer programmer at Ironwood Software with his brother, Bill Becker. It was a collaborative business/brother relationship that continued for the rest of Paul’s life.

Paul met Lisa Crosby at the Seattle School of Aikido in 1986, and in 1991, wanting to leave busy Seattle, they took up a friend’s offer to boat-sit and arrived in Port Townsend for the Wooden Boat Festival. Paul loved Port Townsend and was happy to call it home from then on.  Paul and Lisa married in 1993, and in the next few years had two daughters, Rinnah and Ella, whom they joyously raised together. In Port Townsend, Paul was an active member of the community, playing clarinet and guitar at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and sometimes Bet Shira, singing in the Wild Rose and Rainshadow Chorales, founding and then teaching at Aikido Port Townsend, and working with his father-in-law on democratic reform.

Paul was a devoted husband and father, and loved his family and friends dearly. During his illness many friends and family members from near and far came to his support, as did the wonderful people at Jefferson Healthcare. Paul is loved and will be so missed.

Paul is survived by his wife Lisa Crosby, daughters Rinnah and Ella Becker, brother Bill Becker, two step-siblings and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Preceding him in death were his parents and his oldest brother Lorrie Ratner. A celebration of Paul’s life is planned for Saturday, April 6 at 2 p.m. at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Port Townsend. Those who so desire may make donations in memory of Paul to United Good Neighbors of Jefferson County.


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