As part of our Vancouver Island Masonic History Project, with its sections on Vancouver Island Cemeteries – Masonic Interments and Deceased Brethren, here is a page on John Frederick Becker (died 1893, aged 53), who is buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.
John Frederick Becker was a member of Vancouver & Quadra Lodge, No. 2 in Victoria, B.C. He served as Lodge Treasurer for over 17 years.
With his business partner, Thomas Gieger, John Becker ran the San Francisco Baths on Government Street.
Here are some historic photos of the San Francisco Baths:
- BC Archives photo A-07522 – San Francisco Baths, circa 1870
- BC Archives photo C-06438 – John Becker and family, circa 1880. Unconfirmed that this is the John Becker of this article but note the three children in the photo and the obituary (see below) mention of a “Widow and family of three…”
- BC Archives photo I-46778 – no image available online, but this photo is of John F. Becker and his family.
- BC Archives photo F-09609 – Thomas Geiger, barber. No image online but this is very likely John Becker’s business partner.
Here is a brief biography of John Frederick Becker taken from the contemporary newspaper reports of his death and funeral:
“Death of J.F. Becker
Heart failure last evening terminated the life of Mr. J.F. Becker, well known throughout the City and Province as a pioneer of ’64, and a member of the firm of Geiger & Becker, proprietors of the San Francisco baths in this city. The deceased was a native of Germany, aged 53; he leaves to lament his demise a widow and family of three, all of whom have reached their majority. The late Mr. Becker was a prominent member of the Masonic Order as well as of the A.O.U.W., and stood high in the estimation of his brethren of the craft.”
(Source: Daily Colonist, 14 March 1893, page 5, column 1)
BECKER – In this city, on the 13th inst., John Frederick Becker, a native of Meldorf, Holstein, Germany.The funeral will take place on Thursday [16 March 1893] at 2:30 p.m. from the family residence, No. 217 Fort street. Friends will please accept this intimation.”
(Source: Daily Colonist 16 March 1893, page 8, column 1)
“A Brother Laid Low
The remains of the late J.F. Becker were yesterday interred at Ross Bay cemetery. At the house of mourning on Fort street, those who had revered and respected the deceased during a long and useful career assembled and took a last fond look at the mortal remains, the casket containing which was literally covered with floral tributes. There was a short service in the death chamber, conducted by Rev. P. McF. McLeod, after which the casket was placed in the bier and the sorrowful procession formed. Chief among the mourners was the Masonic fraternity, in which the deceased was a faithful worker, and at the time of his demise held the office of treasurer in Vancouver-Quadra lodge, which position of high trust he had held for the last seventeen years. He was also a leading light in the A.O.U.W., the members of which turned out and walked in the solemn procession to the grave, where the impressive ceremony of the Masonic burial service was conducted by Worshipful Master A.B. Erskine. The pallbearers were: Messrs. H. F. Heisterman, T. Shotbolt, M. Miller, J. E. Phillips, A. R. Milne, all past masters in the craft, and Mr. J. B. Lovell.”
(Source: Daily Colonist, 17 March 1893, page 5 column 2)
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