Dave Becker has been a great friend and mentor since my first year of law school in 1981. I arrived, largely clueless about what I had gotten myself into, having just completed a rather undistinguished career in the NFL. I compounded my circumstances by agreeing to serve as an assistant coach on the Wash U football team during my first semester. Just keeping pace with other students was a constant challenge. I needed lots of help.
Professor Becker was my first year property prof, and although he initially appeared to me as more intimidating than my last coach, Don Shula, I always felt a great comfort in his classes. Early on, I discovered what many others knew of him–he so capably directed even confused students like me through the day’s materials by his artful questioning, finding indirect paths even when the first, direct questions, were met with blank stares, that I never worred about leaving embarrassed by my ineptitude. One double class period stands out–where he stayed with me the entire time, addressing multiple hypotheticals on the rule against perpetuities. I survived the process and gained a great deal of confidence in my abilities as a result.
We also played a great many games together, basketball, softball and golf, both while I was in school and as teammates on the “Law Jocks” softball team in Forest Park after my graduation. Our long-term nemesis was a team sponsored by Dave Sinclair Ford, with Dave Sinclair, Sr. typically pitching for that team. The two Daves were near the same age and both were extremely competitive. I don’t know that I recall a happier Dave Becker than the night we beat Sinclair’s team for the league championship and celebrated at a local restaurant. Wonderful memories of Dave running around in his favorite, bright red, softball pants.
Finally, Dave’s clear interest in the lives of others has always been a hallmark of him. Each of my visits with him was marked by an intense but supportive focus on my life in the practice of law, but also a sincere interest in the other circumstances of my life: my marriage, kids and other important aspects of my life. I always left our meetings assured that I had a strong supporter and advocate.
Congratulations to Professor Becker on his great accomplishments and thanks for his role in my life.
Pete Woods, Class of 1984