Jacob “Jack” Becker, a former City College history teacher who owned a television repair service, died of heart disease Oct. 29 at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center. The Reisterstown resident was 82.
Born in Baltimore and raised on Anoka Avenue, he was the son of Daniel Becker, an amateur boxer and postal worker, and Ida Jacobs, both of whom were Russian immigrants.
“Jack’s love of sports started when he was a youngster and played basketball for the Jewish Community Center league and became an assistant membership director when he was in high school,” said his wife, Francine “Fran” Trepolsky. “He played in amateur baseball leagues.and competed against Al Kaline,” who went on to become a Hall of Fame outfielder for the Detroit Tigers.
Mr. Becker was a 1953 City College graduate. He then entered Washington College, where he played baseball, and intended to study accounting. But when the school’s accounting teacher retired, the major was dissolved, and Mr Becker chose teaching as his major. He also enjoyed history and politics.
He worked at the Post Office during Christmas breaks and cut grass and tended tennis courts at city parks during the summer.
He met his wife on a blind date at the Stanley Theater on Howard Street. They married in 1958 at Shaarei Tfiloh Synagogue.
After earning his degree at Washington College, he became an assistant manager at Food Fair stores. He then joined the Baltimore City Department of Education and was an educational coordinator in the northwest district. He also taught adult education at evening courses at the Community College of Baltimore City and at Social Security headquarters. He later taught history at Francis Scott Key School and at Forest Park High School.
IIn the 1960s he was on the faculty of City College.
“Jack was an inspirational teacher,” said former Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who now heads the University of Baltimore. “He was wonderful in the classroom and took us on field trips to City Hall to help connect us with the real world. He encouraged me because he saw my interest in government. And he came to our 50th class reunion.”
In the presidential election of 1960, Mr. Backer assembled voter counts at a precinct at St. Rita’s Church in Dundalk. In 1974, he won a seat on the Democratic State Central Committee. He also worked for the Census Bureau every 10 years, going door to door conducting counts.
In 1976, while still teaching, he and his wife opened an electronics repair shop, Valley TV and Video in Owings Mills. He ran that business for 30 years.
“He loved talking to all his customers and made many friends through the business,” his wife said..
In 2010 Mr. Becker ran unsuccessfully for a seat to represent the 4th District on the Baltimore County Council. He ran on a platform of bringing improvements to Liberty Road and getting a new library for his community,
.Mr. Becker played softball on Sunday mornings with a group of his friends at Woodmoor Elementary School. He was an enthusiastic fan of the Baltimore Colts, Orioles and Ravens. He attended home games at the 1983 World Series, was a regular at Memorial Stadium and followed baseball statistics closely, family members said.
After he retired from Valley TV, he and his wife volunteered for Mended Hearts at Sinai Hospital. He visited patients recovering from heart problems and helped stuff envelopes and send materials from the hospital’s volunteer office. He was a past treasurer of the local chapter of Mended Hearts.
Services were held Oct. 30 at Sol Levinson and Brothers.
In addition to his wife of nearly 60 years, survivors include two daughters, Sharon Cormack of Towson and Robin Becker-Cornblatt of Frederick; a sister, Arlene Pristoop of Westminster; and three grandchildren.