Longtime Cudahy resident Mary Becker passed away at the age of 93 on July 20, 2012. She will be greatly missed by the Cudahy Historical Society, of which she was a long-time member and ardent supporter.
Becker was instrumental in telling the story about the heroic effort of community members to save old railroad depot on south Kinnickinnic avenue that was set to be torn down in 1971. Today, the restored depot is the home of the Cudahy Historical Society. A tireless and dedicated volunteer, her final effort was coordinating the society’s election of officers earlier this spring.
Back in 1966, Mary Becker began writing about life in Milwaukee’s southern suburbs. She was a reporter for the Cudahy/St. Francis Reminder Enterprise, covering Cudahy and St. Francis school boards, council meetings, and even municipal court. A talented and skilled writer, she also wrote two feature columns for the paper, “What’s the Good Word?” and “City Sidelights.” She later developed a self-guided historical walking tour of Cudahy, included in Generations of Pride, the city’s centennial history.
A 1935 graduate of Cudahy High School, she graduated with a degree in journalism in 1939 from the University of Wisconsin and married Christian Becker in August of the same year. The Becker family owned the Cudahy Fuel Company. Her husband died in 2006.
A couple of years ago, Mary recalled her childhood in a fascinating presentation at a Society general meeting. Her father was Dr. Carroll “Paddy” Partridge, who moved his family from Shorewood to Cudahy when Mary was 5 years old. He remodeled his Layton Avenue home into Cudahy Hospital; the Partridges ran the hospital for over 25 years. She stated that it was the only emergency hospital in the city and the Cudahy police would bring in their ambulance cases. She also noted that during the Great Depression patients would often pay their bills with live chickens, fresh produce or anything else they had of value. She claimed this experience convinced her that she didn’t want anything to do with the medical profession.
In celebration of her 90th birthday and to commemorate her service to the community, the city of Cudahy named Jan. 28, 2009, “Mary Becker Day.”
Becker is survived by two sons, two daughters, a sister, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
According to the notice in Sunday’s Journal-Sentinel, visitation will be held at the Church and Chapel Funeral Home, 3774 E. Underwood Ave. from 4 p.m. until time of service at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 25.
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