Mildred “Millie” Becker passed away on Jan. 21, 2022, in Indianapolis, Indiana, surrounded by family.
She was born Mildred Maxine Knull on Aug. 26, 1922, in Madison, Nebraska to Burnham and Mary (Ganser) Knull. She was the oldest of four siblings, Karl “Junior” Knull, Margie Nielsen (Norman) and Betty Makelin (Glenn).
Millie married Robert “Bob” Becker in 1943, and together they had two daughters along with a son that died before birth in 1948. After her two daughters were raised, Millie raised two nieces from her sister, Margie, from the time they were 9 and 10 years old.
Millie’s strong work ethic was a driving force throughout her life, and it was common for her to switch professions. One of her first jobs was working at the Agricultural Adjustment Administration office in the 1930s in Madison, Nebraska. She also worked in town at Best Decorators and Deets Furniture as an interior decorator. She was a bookkeeper for 10 years at the grain elevator which was run by her spouse in Enola. Later in their marriage, the two of them ran a Dairy Sweet, called Rob’s Drive Inn, located in Madison. After they sold the restaurant, Millie was a house mother at the Masonic Home for Children in Fremont, Nebraska.
Millie moved to Indianapolis in 1978 and worked many years at Ethan Allen Furniture as an interior decorator. She graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Indianapolis in 1987. Her first job out of college was at Altenheim Senior Community as a social worker on the southside of Indianapolis.
In her late 60s, she took a leap of faith, enrolled in swimming lessons due to her fear of water and joined the Peace Corps. She was stationed in the South Pacific country of Palau and taught English and other subjects at Bethania High School.
Being a devout Christian since childhood, serving the Lord was always an important part of Millie’s life. After her stint in the Peace Corp, she became a Christian missionary teaching at Emmaus High School in Koror while still in Palau. During her time there, her eyesight started to deteriorate which forced her to come back home and retire.
Despite all of her different professions, teaching for over 10 years in Palau was by far the proudest accomplishment of Millie’s life.
She loved fashion and looking her best, always impeccably dressed with matching high heels. She was also an excellent seamstress. When Millie’s girls were growing up, she would sew them a new dress every Christmas and Easter, often working long into the night after the family went to bed. She would sew clothes for big events and even sewed her eldest daughter’s wedding dress and bridesmaids’ dresses.
Some words to describe Millie are determined, headstrong, fiercely independent, ambitious and focused. In her later years, as she became progressively more blind, she worked hard to maintain her independence and used creative problem-solving methods to accomplish everyday tasks. Her boundless perseverance enabled her to live alone until six months before she died. As she became more disabled due to severe arthritis, she remained grateful in the midst of adversity and would often say, “It could always be worse.”
Her favorite activities were playing cards and bingo. Even in the last years of her life, she could play cards for four to five hours straight without stopping. Bridge, hand-and-foot canasta, pitch and pinochle were some of her favorite card games. She seemed to attract a good hand more often than not, and she also had a great sense of humor, relishing in a good sarcastic jab in her card-playing trash talk. In one of the final card games she ever played, the opposing team remarked that the cards were not working out in their favor to which Millie smirked, “People always blame the cards when they are losing.”
Millie leaves behind four daughters, Brenda Becker, Deb Croghan (Ray), Donna Brooks (Jim) and Nora Wright (Richard); seven grandchildren, Chad Dorland (Amber), Melanie Mervine (Will), Megan McLane (Adam), Cassidy Emami (Ali), Amber Curlee (Mike) and Kirby and Eli Brooks; eight great-grandchildren, Jacob and Isaac Dorland, Noah and Morgan Mclane, Sloane and Hudson Emami, and Becker and Nell Curlee; as well as countless nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Millie’s Life will be held on April 30, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. at Christ United Methodist Church (8540 U.S. 31 South Indianapolis)
A graveside service will be held on August 7, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. at Fairview Cemetery in Battle Creek Nebraska.
It was Millie’s wish that any memorial tributes be made in the form of charitable donations to any of the following organizations: Fairview Cemetery Association in care of Madison County Bank, P.O. Box 650 Madison, Nebraska 68748; Douglas M. Dorland Scholarship Fund at the University of Indianapolis, 1400 East Hanna Ave, Indianapolis, Indiana 46227; or Faith Promise Missions at Christ United Methodist Church, 8540 US 31 South, Indianapolis, Indiana 46227.
Final Arrangements have been respectfully entrusted to, and handled by Norman F. Chance Funeral Home and Cremation Service
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