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Audrey Jean Becker



Audrey Jean Becker, 76, passed away on Tuesday, January 2, 2023, from cancer at the Dougherty Hospice House. Beloved wife for 57 years of Dennis Becker and mother to Denise and Denny and grandmother to Elijah and Aidan. Audrey was an extravert who rarely met a stranger she didn’t want to convert to a friend. Big-hearted, compassionate, kind, fun, and a great bargain hunter, she was much loved and will be greatly missed.

For more than 40 years, she was a kick-ass waitress at Pizza Inn on the east side of Sioux Falls, where she remembered her regular customer’s drink orders and favorite pizza toppings, mentored several generations of young co-workers, and gave all customers a smile and kind word along with their food.

Audrey was born September 5, 1947, in Aberdeen and attended schools there and in Sioux Falls. The oldest of five children, she was a loving daughter and sibling. This included sneaking her baby brother out of his crib so she could snuggle with him at night, later taking care of her aging mother, and chatting on the phone with her sister nearly every day (and with her brothers whenever possible).

She was in love with love in all its forms: love for her children, family and friends. Love and compassion for strangers she just met and those she knew only from a distance. This love manifested itself in a passion for romantic comedies, relationship-based reality shows, romance novels (which she read nonstop), holiday gift exchanges, going out with friends, and gathering with family.

When she was 18 years ago, she met a nice young man through mutual friends. Dennis Becker was just out of the military and the two married soon after and remained married for nearly six decades.

Her devotion to her family was infinite. She warmly welcomed all new additions to the family, and was known for remembering birthdays, anniversaries, and sending candy, toys, or holiday tea towels to relatives near and far. She was overjoyed when her children (finally!) married, and she was over the moon when she (again finally!) became a grandmother.

She read to her young children nearly every night, worked tirelessly with her then 5th grade daughter who was struggling in reading (that daughter went on to get a journalism degree and works as a writer and editor), and ignored teachers who said her son was a hopeless student and should be demoted to a lower-level math track (that son went on to get a mathematics and economics degree and works in the tech field). This support continued with her grandchildren as she regularly read books with them via FaceTime and provided a sympathetic ear and encouragement during their many (miss)adventures.

She had a wide circle of friends and was a member of countless civic and social organizations. She loved playing cards (wist, hearts, spades), bingo, and other games into the wee hours of the morning. As long family or friends were with her, she was happy. She could sit at a slot machine, playing only one nickel at a time, happily chatting to whoever was on the machine next to her. She didn’t care about winning big: her jackpot was spending hours having fun with those she loved.

Audrey was also a devoted and consummate hunter of “the good find” at yard sales, an activity she made into a team sport. She and her gang of girls, which included her mother, were not casual yard sale enthusiasts.  Audrey often commenced a yard sale campaign with a documented battle plan detailing the sales to hit first in the never-ending quest to triumph over the competition – professional dealers and collectors. She had an elephant’s memory of items on her loved ones’ wish lists and sought them out with limitless enthusiasm. It is a sure bet that she and her mother are already hitting the yard sales in heaven.

She is survived by her spouse: Dennis Becker; her two children and their spouses: Denise Becker and K. Michael Normington, and Denny and Deidre Becker; two grandchildren: Elijah Tate and Aidan Skye; her sister: Sandy, and three brothers: Marlin Earl “Sonny”, Gordon, and Gary; and numerous beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her mother, Donna Mae (Cowan) Klabo, and father, Marlin Earl Klabo, and numerous dogs and cats whom she welcomed into her home and heart, including her beloved toy poodle, Brandy, which her children referred to as “the third sibling.”

Visitation will begin Saturday, January 13, 1:00 PM with a Time of Sharing starting at 2:00 PM at Barnett-Lewis Funeral Home in Sioux Falls.



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