David E. Becraft, air conditioning repairman, 47

May 31, 1999|By Kristine Henry | Kristine Henry,SUN STAFF

David E. Becraft, a retired furnace and air conditioning repairman, died Saturday of colon cancer at Gilchrest Center for Hospice Care. He was 47.

Mr. Becraft, who was known to almost everyone as "Porkchop" because of his childhood fondness for them, lived in the Dulany Street rowhouse in Southwest Baltimore, where he was raised.

He would dress up as Santa Claus every Christmas and take gifts to friends and neighbors.

"He would buy thousands of dollars worth of toys and perfume and cologne and knickknacks, and two or three days before Christmas, he would go to houses where they didn't have any toys," said his sister, Sharon Dawson of Arbutus.

"My brother was so good-hearted. He'd feed everybody, and if people needed money, they'd come and say, `Hey, Chop, I need this or I need that' and he made sure they got it," she said.

Mr. Becraft also loved to cook beef stew, his specialty, for friends and neighbors.

"He made the best beef stew I ever tasted," said a friend of 20 years, Nancy Sequoyah. "He loved everything. He loved soft-shell crabs and shrimp, and he made the best steamed shrimp you ever tasted. If you went to his house for dinner, you had four or five things to choose from, plus salads. He would cook for days.

"On Mother's Day, he'd invite all the mothers of people he knew to his house for dinner."

Mr. Becraft left school after completing ninth grade but earned his high school diploma while in the Army National Guard.

He worked at Marex Heating Oil for more than 20 years until cancer forced him to retire in November 1997.

Mrs. Dawson said his niece and nephew -- Charles Hogarth of Churchville and Tinamarie Trider of Perry Hall -- were the center of his life.

"He lived for them," she said. "He thought my kids were his kids. If my husband and I couldn't afford something, he made sure they got it. My kids were the only kids in the family, and he thought the world of them."

About 24 years ago, for example, when his nephew was age 3, Mr. Becraft surprised him with a hobbyhorse three times the boy's size. He often gave his niece bracelets and rings.

"I think she's got almost every type of stone ever made," Mrs. Dawson said.

Services for Mr. Becraft will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Ambrose Funeral Home of Lansdowne, 2719 Hammonds Ferry Road.

Pub Date: 5/31/99

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