BALLANTINE — Russell David Becker, 69, went to be with our Lord on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. Russell was born in Huntley, Mont., on May 13, 1943, to Lydia (Johannes) and Herman Becker. Russell’s grandparents were German Russian immigrants who settled in the Huntley Project area to farm and raise their families.
Russell graduated from Huntley Project High School in 1961 where he was active in Future Farmers of America. He held offices at the state level in FFA and excelled in cattle judging. He attended Eastern Montana College in Billings where he studied business. His education was cut short one quarter shy of graduation in order to help on the family farm when his father became ill. He married Judy Emborg in Billings on Nov. 5, 1966.
Russell’s parents started a registered Guernsey cattle business in 1949. The dairy cows were milked in a small manual milking parlor until the Becker’s built a larger automatic milking parlor in 1972. Russell and Judy and his parents continued the family business and added Angus cattle in 1980’s. His education in business, ambition, and love of the cattle business propelled him toward learning about artificial insemination in the 1970’s to improve the dairy herd and later in the Angus herd. He was a sale representative for the American Breeder’s Service for many years. In 1999, Russell and Judy sold their dairy business and focused solely on their Angus cattle and farming.
Russell and his son, Dean, held their 21st Annual Becker Farms Invitational Bull Sale this past March. Over those years, Russell was a great neighbor that generously included area consigners as well as local youth to sell their bulls in his annual sale. He supported numerous local 4-H kids at the Montana Fair Junior Livestock Sale over the years and was often asked to judge cattle shows at the fair.
Russell loved to go bird hunting with his dog, Cotton, hunt deer and elk and fish. He loved the outdoors, the smell of fresh mountain air and drives to Red Lodge, Cook City and the Beartooth Pass. He loved authentic German cooking, listening to country music and spending time with his grandchildren. He loved spending time with his family most of all. Every spring, he would travel to numerous Angus bull sales throughout Montana. His keen eye and knowledge of pedigrees were always on target. He could always predict the top selling bull.
Russell is survived by his wife, Judy; his son, Dean Becker of Ballantine and his wife, Julie (Albrecht) Becker; daughter, Danell Stengem (Keller, Texas) and her husband, Christopher Stengem; and daughter, Gretchen Littler (East Wenatchee, Wash.) and her husband, Bliss Littler. Other members of his family include his grandchildren: Erik Stengem, Hayley Stengem, Olivia Stengem, Bayley Becker, Cade Littler, and Grace Littler. Russell had many cousins, nieces, and nephews, and other family members, as well as many close friends, who he enjoyed and loved.He is preceded in death by his parents, Lydia and Herman Becker.
There will be a viewing on Sunday, Sept. 2, and Monday Sept. 3, at Smiths Funeral Chapel in Billings, from 12 to 8 p.m. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 4, at 2 p.m. at Bethlehem Congregational Church followed by graveside service at Pleasantview Cemetery. A potluck reception will follow in the church hall.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Huntley Project Alumni Chapter of the Future Farmers of America, Bethlehem Congregational Church or a charity of your choice.