Edla Becker: Loving mother and grandmother

Edla Becker, a longtime Claremont resident, died on Friday, November 20, 2015 at Mt. San Antonio Gardens. She was 77.

She was born Edla Schultz on September 9, 1938 in Latvia, just as the Baltic nation was entering a period of considerable tumult. With the onset of World War II, the country was seized by the Soviet Union in 1940. It was occupied by Nazi Germany in 1941 and then reoccupied by the Soviets from 1944 until gaining its independence in 1991.

Edla’s family immigrated to the United States in the 1950s. Being ethnic Germans, the Bavarian-style dining and dancing at Anaheim’s Phoenix Club provided a welcome touch of home. It was there that she met a German immigrant named Norbert Becker. The couple was married in 1965 at Pilgrim Congregational Church in Pomona and soon welcomed their first child, a son named Eric, followed by twins Aaron and Gerrit.

The family settled in Claremont where the kids attended Chaparral, El Roble and Claremont High School. The three boys all grew to be well over six feet tall. A family joke attributed their size to the fact that they ate red meat every night, given that Mr. Becker owned the East Side Meat Company. The enterprise, which he operated from their home, provided choice cuts of meat to clients like Wolfe’s Market.

Mrs. Becker worked at Pomona First Federal, followed by posts at the admission office at El Roble Intermediate and the career center at Claremont High School. After she retired, she served as a German interpreter for the court system. Throughout her working years, she also busied herself with family activities. She was active in the Pomona Valley Mothers of Twins Club, volunteered with the PTAs at her sons’ schools, chauffeured her boys to various sports practices and rallied the family for church service at Pilgrim Congregational each Sunday. She liked to entertain at home and cherished the opportunity to host her extended family at Christmas.

While at home, Mrs. Becker’s German roots were everywhere apparent. The children grew up with German as their first language and eating their mother’s home-cooked German food. Spätzle, a dish of egg noodles served with a savory sauce, was among her specialties. When the children were in their teens, the Beckers traveled to Germany and were able to visit Kerzenheim, where Norbert grew up. They were charmed by the old-fashioned town, which had cobblestone streets still traversed via horse and carriage.

After Mr. Becker died in 1991, Edla remained active. She eventually retired to Mt. San Antonio Gardens and became part of a group that meets monthly to practice German, honing their fluency by reading excerpts of German books aloud. She was prodigious with needlepoint—embellishing pillows and creating scenes that she framed—and won a number of awards at the LA County Fair for her handiwork. She was an avid reader and theater-goer who for many years held season tickets to the Candlelight Pavilion dinner theater. She also enjoyed traveling, returning to Germany several times and embarking on cruises to destinations like Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska. Mrs. Becker also enjoyed the company of her many friends and of her three grandchildren, on whom she doted.

Edla was an orderly person who was strict but sweet and always sought to ensure that her loved ones were heading down the right path. Upon learning of her death, Chris Thoits, a longtime friend of the Becker sons, said, “Sorry to hear about your loss, but heaven just got a little bit more organized.”

Mrs. Becker is survived by her children Eric, Aaron and his wife Alina and Gerrit and his wife Charlene. She also leaves three grandchildren, Hannah, Morgan and Braiden, and her brothers, Rüdiger Schultz of Tucson, Arizona and Horst Schultz of Ontario. 

A memorial service will be held Saturday, December 12 at 1 p.m. at the Pilgrim Congregational Church, 600 N. Garey Ave. in Pomona.


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