Charles Yancey Becker loaded his raft and departed on his final river trip on April 28th, 2020. Family and friends, including Pastor Tim, were with him to pray for his safe journey. After Tim played “Red River Valley” on his harmonica, we sent him on his way with cheers and tears.
CYB arrived in Ontario, Oregon, November 2, 1941, to Cotton Becker and Phyllis Chester Becker joining big sister, Sharon Becker Jarman.
As an adventurous first grader, he discovered a garage with fun things to do on his way to school, until his mother caught him long after he should have been in school.
A portion of his youth was spent on the Becker Ranch started by great-grandfather, Charlie Becker, a pony express rider. It was on the ranch where he “earned” the first scar on his head by disobeying his father who had reprimanded him for flipping burning embers in the air.
CYB enjoyed a kid’s idea of a great childhood in Vale, Oregon. Running away from home for adventure was almost a hobby; always returning in time for dinner. Athletics became important when he reached middle school and could play football; eventually as a Vale Viking playing with, among others, Jay Johnson, Dick Fulwyler and Dave Wilcox on three state championship teams during his high school career. He wrestled because he was too small for basketball as a freshman. As a sprinter, he missed the state track meet because of mono.
With a football scholarship to Eastern Oregon College, he entered his college years. He learned a whole bunch his freshman year ending it on social and academic probation. Phyllis, his mom was not pleased. After meeting his future wife during his sophomore year, maturity set in.
CYB graduated with a degree in elementary education, taught three years in Lagrande, Oregon, earning his first master’s degree in education in 1966, before moving his family to Gold Beach, Oregon.
Moving to the Beach was a whole new world. Fishing with Sam Sharp and Tim Timeus, joining the volunteer fire department with Chief Howard Hauschild and embarking on a teaching and coaching career that spanned three decades and impacted multitudes of young people. His many years of coaching middle school with Sam Sharp, Pete Payne, Keith Fleshman, and Glenn Litterell gave Charles the opportunity to be a mentor, and be mentored.
Basketball coaching at Riley Creek with Sam Sharp, Chris Thelin, and Glenn Litterell, (and with Russel Crook as bus driver) were a prelude to many years coaching J.V. at the high school with Brad Flanary that were all meaningful and memorable. As varsity basketball coach, he took his team to the state tournament spring of 1984. Because several of these young men had never experienced Mac Court (The Pit), he rented a black tux with a gold shirt to help them relax.
Many years of coaching track with Brad Flanary and Terry Hoogester meant hours on the bus with driver Margret Hobson and many meets “enjoying” spring-on-the-coast weather; rain, wind, hail, etc.
1981 found Charles tearing down a wall at home. Jay Johnson arrived and invited Charles on his first rafting trip on the Rouge which led to many years of rafting. Rivers he rafted were, Colorado (3), Snake, Salmon, While Salmon, Grand Ronde, Deschuttes and the Green, along with many floats on the Rouge. These trips were responsible for forging lasting and special friendships with Allen Wilson, Ed & Tereasa Hirte, Beanie Moore, many Larssons, Tad & Jill Bell, Ben Winters and Mary Daniels. Thanks to Jill for making sure he was fed. Although he put in for a Rogue permit from 1981-2020, he was never drawn!!
After a stint as principal at Riley Creek Middle School, Charles retired only to continue coaching for many years, often with Glenn Letterell. Yes, he was an excellent administrator.
Departing this earth proceeding Charles Yancey: all grandparents, my parents, his parents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Remaining behind to remember a great guy; husband, dad, brother, grampy and friend, are Michael S. Becker, Gard & Vickie Becker, her children Cydne, Natassia, Kendyl (Will) only son Noah and Christopher S. Becker of Scottsdale, Arizona. Our grandsons, Tres Walker and Colton Shane Becker of Arizona. Charles had four sisters: Sharon Jarman, Karen Longoria, Linda Kohl and baby sister Bonnie Becker Heinz, and Dan, as well as a bunch of nieces and nephews, brother-in-law Dan Heard (Sylvia) of Lake Oswego.
Charls had many loves: his wife, kids, Vickie, grandsons, tons of friends, (rafting, coaching, teaching), and telling stories. His Motto: “Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.”
Oh, yes, his do-or-die rituals: mocha at the coffee dock with Scotty Knox, Tony Jackacky, Timothy Brieckner, and John Lander plus others. Often times it was mocha at Rachel’s with Glen, Bob Casper, Reuben Hanson, Joseph and Carolyn and Bob Chester. Following the mail run, it was coffee and Keno.
He walked Callie our wonderful Lieuallen Setter to Otter Point. He walked 3 miles, and Callie ran 20!! Sundays, his ritual consisted of picking up Jim Sharp so they could attend Bethany Lutheran Church.
Thank you to our amazing family and friends for being so loving and supportive during this time. My heart felt gratitude to Gold Beach and this entire community of friends and multitudes of former students who have been outstanding in helping to make this transition so much easier and less painful. Big hugs and thank yous to Hospice and Redwood Chapel. Thanks, Reg, always.
Yes, there will be festivities celebrating CYB just as soon as we can gather!! Be ready with amusing stories to share, please. If you have any wild ideas, please call me. (541) 698-8253.
Big thanks to those who have made previous remembrances in Charles’s name Those of you who would like to do so in the future, please consider Bethany Lutheran Church or the Gold Beach High School Athletic Fund.