Pamela Becker, graphic artist

Graphic arts production manager, she also lived in an Israeli settlement on the Mediterranean Sea in the 1970s

  • Pamela Becker
Pamela Becker (Baltimore Sun )
December 25, 2013|By Jacques Kelly, The Baltimore Sun

Pamela Becker, a graphics design production manager and artist, died of cancer Dec. 17 at her Owings Mills home. She was 64.

Born Pamela Joyce Brown in Baltimore, she was the daughter of Henry Brown, who owned a jewelry distributorship, and his wife, Rosalyn Laskin Brown, an accountant at that business. She was raised on Hayward Avenue in Pimlico and later lived in Pikesville.

She was a 1967 graduate of Pikesville High School, where she played lacrosse. She earned an associate's degree from Catonsville Community College.

She met her future husband, Martin Becker, on a blind date on which they saw a movie.

"My best friend introduced us," said her husband. "She was a fan of the Colts and the Orioles and she recalled watching the 1958 greatest game on a black-and-white television. That sealed it for me."

Mrs. Becker worked in graphics arts. She began her career at the Major and Keesey Studio on Charles Street and later worked at the Valley Press, Stuart-Grey Advertising in Frederick and Merkle Inc. in Columbia. She stopped working in 2011.

At Merkle, she supervised mailings for the Arthritis Foundation and other nonprofit agencies.

"She would often work diligently into the night perfecting copy, design and type on publications and other printed materials. Her priority in her work was making it the best possible product for the client, no matter what it took," said Rochelle C. Cohen, her husband's cousin who lives in Mount Washington.

In 1973, she and her husband decided to visit Israel for the 25th anniversary of its creation.

"We were both brought up as Zionists, so we went for a two- or three-week visit," her husband said. "We were taught all those teachings and we fell in the love with the place. We decided to move there in 1975."

He said they settled in the then new city of Yamit, in the Sinai Peninsula on the Mediterranean. They became pioneering settlers in a new city in what had been an undeveloped territory.

"Pam would pack tomatoes, manage crises and pitch in with any situation in a new and rapidly growing town," said her husband.

He said that his wife had her daughter at this time and was taken by ambulance through the Gaza Strip for the delivery at a hospital in Ashkelon in Israel.

In 1979, the family returned to Maryland.

"She was funny, upbeat, a good soul," said Ms. Cohen. "She always thought about other people. She was a tireless worker to get the project done, on time."

A baker, Mrs. Becker made loaves of braided challah, which she learned to make while in Yamit. She used the traditional egg-based recipe.

"She entered competitions in baking at the Jewish Community Center in Baltimore," her husband said. "In Yamit, where she learned to bake, she made her breads for ceremonial visits by Yitzhak Rabin and Menachem Begin."

In late 2009, she tested positive for the BRCA-2 gene, an indicator of familial ovarian or breast cancer. She joined the Hopewell Cancer Support Center in Brooklandville, where she took classes and assisted others. She later was diagnosed with cancer.

"She has the kindest soul. She never took anyone for granted," said a former Merkle co-worker, Katie Dean of Ellicott City. "She was grateful to be alive every day. Everyone loved Pam at work. She was always fun to work with and had a great attitude. She got things done right and she worked with great patience and with a team spirit. I cannot remember a day when she was in a bad mood."

This past summer she returned to Israel and was reunited with former Yamit pioneers.

Mrs. Becker was an avid Ravens fan and liked to wear a Ray Rice jersey. She also attended Orioles games.

She was a former member of Beth Tfiloh and Beth Israel congregations.

Services were held Dec. 19 at Sol Levinson and Bros.

In addition to her husband of 42 years, a buyer for Northern Pharmacy, survivors include a son, Joshua Becker of Monterey, Calif.; a daughter, Maya D. Katz of Tel Aviv; two brothers, Steve Brown and Robert Brown, both of Pikesville; two sisters, Evelyn Berman of Pikesville and Nina Hess of Owings Mills; and two grandchildren.

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