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Eugene J. Becker, Ellicott City resident and former NSA official, dies

Eugene J. Becker, Ellicott City resident and former NSA official, dies
After retiring from the NSA, Eugene J. Becker became deeply involved in the mission of the National Cryptologic Museum. (Handout)

Eugene J. Becker, a retired National Security Agency official who was an active member of the National Cryptologic Museum, died Saturday in his sleep at Howard County General Hospital.

The Ellicott City resident was 90.

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Eugene Joshua Becker was born in New York City and raised in Washington Heights. He was the son of Harry Becker, a businessman, and Nellie Becker, a homemaker.

After graduating from George Washington High School in Washington Heights, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in 1951 in international studies from George Washington University in Washington, and six years later a master’s degree in Arabic studies from Harvard University.

He began his intelligence career in 1952 as a linguist at the Armed Forces Security Agency, the forerunner of NSA.

During his 41-year career at the agency, he held many senior roles, including assistant deputy director for field management and evaluation, training director and commandant of the National Cryptologic School.

He was a recipient of the Exceptional Civilian Service Award and, in 1982, joined the ranks of the Senior Cryptologic Executive Service. He was later awarded the rank of distinguished executive within the service. In 1990, he received the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal.

Mr. Becker also served as NSA representative to the U.S. Defense Department and had been assistant director for Telecommunications and Computer Services.

At the time if his retirement in 1993, he was inspector general and deputy director for administration.

In his retirement, Mr. Becker became active in the mission of the National Cryptologic Museum near Fort Meade, where he helped establish its Museum Foundation in 1996 with a team of retired NSA employees. He had been vice president of the museum and served as president of the foundation in 2012.

When he was in high school in New York playing shortstop, his baseball team played a championship game in Yankee Stadium — which helped cement his lifelong love of the Yankees. He also played tennis for 77 years and only stopped after turning 88.

Mr. Becker enjoyed reading and was a student of history. He was particularly fond of spy novels, family members said.

His wife of 31 years, the former Rosemarie Frankel, died in 1979.

Services are private.

Mr. Becker is survived by his wife of 36 years, the former Anna Ferree, who was also a NSA employee; three daughters, Nancy Becker of Darnestown in Montgomery County, Kathy Kuhlman of Pasadena and Carol Bowie of Washington; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. A son, David Becker, died in 2008.

--Frederick N. Rasmussen

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