July 2, 2020
Carol Sturdy Becker, of Friends Lake, NY, died peacefully on July 2, 2020. She was 82 years old. Daughter of the late Richard and Mary Sturdy and the youngest of four children, she was born in Scotia and attended Scotia-Glenville High School. After graduating in 1955, she enrolled at the State University of New York at Farmingdale, where, on the very first day of classes, she met the love of her life, Jay Becker, who preceded her in death on April 6 of this year. Jay and Carol both earned degrees in Horticulture from Farmingdale and were married in 1959.
The Becker family quickly grew. The couple welcomed their first daughter, Debbie, into the world in 1961 and their second daughter, Susan, followed in 1966.
In 1972, she and Jay opened their own florist shop in Floral Park, N.Y. — Jay W. Becker Florist. Thanks to the pair’s hard work, the new business thrived. For 25 years, their shop produced both the blanket of white carnations that is placed upon the winning horse at the Belmont Stakes and the flower blanket for the winner of the Marlboro Cup. The couple’s floral work was also featured in national advertising campaigns by Hanes and Colgate and their business was listed in the 1976 Guinness Book of World Records for having made the largest funeral piece honoring a horse. The 8 ½-by-8 ½-foot horseshoe decorated the grave of the famous racehorse Ruffian. Carol and Jay were also privileged to attend the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, where they helped with decorating floats.
Throughout their lives, Carol and Jay were also staunch supporters of Rotary International and Carol took great pride in being a Rotarian. The couple, who were active in Rotary clubs in Floral Park, Lake George, Chestertown and Jupiter, Florida, had 38 years of perfect attendance at meetings. Every year during the holiday season, she and Jay brought joy to countless numbers of children by making public appearances dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus.
After selling their store and retiring from the flower business, Carol and Jay divided their time between spending summers at their cabin on Friends Lake and winters at their home in Jupiter, Florida. At both locales, Carol continued to pursue her lifelong passion for gardening. She also took great delight in both watching birds peck at the many feeders she had hung up and giving peanuts to the chipmunks who would come scampering across her deck.
In addition to her daughters, Debbie and Susan, Carol is survived by two sons-in-law, Mitchell Parker and Stephen Severn, three grandchildren, Pam Parker, Richard Parker and William Severn, a granddaughter-in-law, Corinne Parker and a great granddaughter, Nova Parker.
Relatives and friends may call from 5:00 to 7:00 PM Tuesday, July 7 at Barton-McDermott Funeral Home, 9 Pine St. Chestertown, NY 12817. Interment will be 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 8 at Underwood Cemetery, Valentine Pond Road, Brant Lake, NY. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only a maximum of 10 non-family visitors can enter the funeral home to pay respects at any given time. Graveside services are permitted to 25 people. Please observe social distancing and facial covering (masks) requirements.
Memorial donations may be made to either Son Rise Lutheran Church or your local Rotary Club.
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