Leonard Becker, age 78 of Nashua, IA, died Monday, February 3, 2020, surrounded by his family at his home.
Funeral services will be held 10:30 a.m. Thursday, February 6, 2020, at the United Methodist Church in Nashua with Rev. John Tunnicliff officiating.
Interment will be held at Greenwood Cemetery, Nashua with Lance Becker, Nick Becker, Ryan Helmers, Arial Vandeventer, Jason Friedrich and Mason Sobolik serving as pallbearers.
Friends may greet the family from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 5, 2020, at Hugeback Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory – Olson Chapel in Nashua. Visitation continues an hour prior to the service at the church on Thursday. Online condolences for the Becker family may be left at hugebackfuneralhome.com
Leonard Becker was born on Feb. 18, 1941, at the Charles City Hospital and was the oldest of Carl and Margaret (Eckhoff) Becker’s two children.
He grew up on the family farm five miles west of Nashua, and at an early age, he learned the value of a great work ethic as he and his younger sister helped their parents with various chores on the farm.
Somewhere along the line, he picked up the nickname “Spike” and trust us, it stuck. There were plenty of people who had no idea whom Leonard Becker was until they were told he was Spike.
He attended the one-room Goodner and Butler schoolhouses through the eighth grade before he arrived at Nashua High School in the fall of 1955. He was an outstanding fullback on several standout Bulldog football teams, a good student and a member of the Class of 1959.
Spike enlisted in the U.S. Navy and proudly served his country for four years. He was assigned to the boiler room of the USS Yorktown, and he liked to joke that the heat in that room was the reason he “lost his hair.”
After his service, Spike returned to Iowa and farmed for a couple of years and worked at Carnation for a couple more, but the real highlight of the 1960s was when he met Jane Betsinger. The two hit it off and were married on Jan. 7, 1967, at the United Methodist Church in Nashua. It was the start of a 50-year love affair.
The couple welcomed five children – Lonnie, LuAnn, Linell and twins Karla and LeEllen — and they remember their dad as a hard worker who was also a fun guy to be around. Years later, they still talk about how Dad came into their rooms and sang to them before bedtime. And Spike wasn’t a lullaby kind of guy; instead, he loved the music by Elvis Presley and other “Golden Oldies” so that’s what he sang and danced to for his kids.
In 1969, Spike took a job at Skyline Harvester and worked there for 16 years before accepting a position at Haase Sales and Service in Nashua, where he remained until his retirement in 2006.
Spike knew when to work hard and when to have some fun, and he liked his Schmidt beer and peppermint schnapps, and in later life, he’d have a glass of wine or a rum and coke.
But what he loved the most — besides his wife — were his 14 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, and they, in turn, loved him. Every single one of those grandchildren will always remember grandpa’s love of card games — be it Crazy 8s, 31, Euchre, Oh Hell or any other card game. The laughs grandpa and his grandchildren had around those card tables are priceless memories that will be forever cherished.
When Jane began to fail in the mid-2010s, it was Spike who was her best caregiver, and his wife’s death in 2017, just a short time after they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, was a devastating blow.
He was a member of the Nashua VFW and the area’s Dartball Board League, but Spike will always be remembered as a guy who didn’t have the word “stranger” in his dictionary. If he sat next to you in a doctor’s office waiting room, it didn’t matter if you had never met him, he was going to strike up a conversation with you. He was, as one of his children put it, impossible not to like.
And as much as they will miss their father, their grandpa and their great-grandpa, Spike’s family is grateful to know he’s reunited with Jane and in all likelihood treating the folks in heaven to a little show in which he’s singing and dancing “Jailhouse Rock” or some other “Goldie Oldie.”
Leonard is survived by his son, Lonnie (Maryann) Becker of Woodbine, GA; four daughters, LuAnn (Rob) Helmers of Rockwell, IA, Linell Hesse of Charles City, IA, Karla (Andrew) Friedrich of Charles City, IA, and LeEllen (Bob) Sobolik of New Hampton, IA; 14 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Jane Becker in 2017; sister, Janice Schmall.