Marjorie Silliman Rose Becker, a life-long resident of Middleburgh and Chairman of The Middleburgh Telephone Company (MIDTEL) passed away on Tuesday, May 25th of natural causes. She was known as Marge to her many friends and fellow residents of Schoharie County, NY. She was two months shy of 99.
Born in Hobart NY in 1922, Marge was the daughter of Florence Pindar and Edmund Scott Rose where her father had established the Rose Telephone Company. She moved to Middleburgh, NY when she was six months old, after her father had sold the company. She spent her early years in Middleburgh where her father went to work for the 25-year old Middleburgh Telephone Company. A graduate of Middleburgh Central School, she graduated from Keuka College in 1944. Upon graduation from college, Marge was employed by the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company in Rochester, NY, and obtained her insurance license. She then moved back to Middleburgh to establish her insurance career. In 1946, she married the love of her life, the late Randy Becker and together, the couple raised four sons and were the loving grandparents of five grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren. Marge furthered her career by earning her Master's degree in Education from The College of Saint Rose in Albany, and for 15 years she was a 4th grade teacher at Duanesburg Central School. In addition, she also worked nights and weekends at MIDTEL until joining the business full-time in 1976 to support and assist her husband.
Her work at MIDTEL followed a lifetime of telephone activities. At the young age of 14, Marge started working part-time at the phone company and continued working during her college years. Her jobs included telephone operator, truck driver, repair woman, and administrator. She accompanied and supported her father and husband on many jobs and company meetings. On the day before she was married in 1946 she was installing telephone cable. She championed the ground-breaking of the MIDTEL offices on the location of their current headquarters at the corner of Cliff Street and Wells Avenue. During her 48 years at the company Marge was the steady hand behind its growth from just 200 access lines to more than 7,000. Along with her grandsons and invaluable employees, she championed the move into Cable TV, DSL, Internet and Fiber broadband services in Middleburgh and the surrounding areas. She was amazed that the ‘small company’ she, Randy and others helped build could have one of the first communications towers (1966), recently removed, and then grow along with the ever-advancing and changing technology of today’s world. MIDTEL now serves over 400 square miles in Schoharie County and parts of Albany County. Although she didn’t seek the limelight, Marge was inducted into the New York State Telecommunications Association Hall of Fame in 2007, was recently presented with several awards including the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce, and was honored by Senator Seward in 2018 in the NY State Senate in Senate Resolution No. 4248.
Marge always said she and Randy had “a love affair” with Middleburgh as she recalled its early years of lively businesses and local stores, street dances and fairs. This was evident in her remarkable commitment in time and personal resources to the enhancement of the beauty, and availability of services in Middleburgh and the broader community. In 2004, the Town of Middleburgh established The Marge and Randy Becker Community Service Award to annually recognize a community member who exemplifies outstanding community service. After Randy’s passing, Marge continued to lead their effort to establish and maintain the Bassett Health Center in Middleburgh, keep their commitment to the Middleburgh Library, beautify the streets with lights and flowers for each season, and assure that new businesses were attracted to the bucolic area and town of Middleburgh. When the flood of 2011 ravaged Middleburgh and its businesses she worked tirelessly to revive the community by helping to obtain outside grant funding, attract a local grocery market, and re-develop Baker Avenue and other areas in preparation for the dream of her life—a local gymnasium with a pool and workout facilities. Marge lived a long and healthy life and she wished the same for all of those in her beloved town of Middleburgh and surrounding areas.
Marge is survived by sons: Edmund “Ned” (Kathleen) Becker of Atlanta, GA and Chris Becker (Carole Mollitor) and by her daughter-in-law: Michele Becker. Marge was predeceased by her son and daughter-in-law: Randall “Scott” and Barbara Becker and by her son: Bruce Becker. Marge and Randy also have 5 grandchildren: James Becker (Carolyn), Jason Becker (Traci), Keith Becker (Tiffany), Lorraine Becker (Paul Masterson) and Jordan Becker. In recent years, their family has grown with the addition of 12 great-grandchildren: Johannah, Brett, Megan, Hailey, Alanna, Dylan, Jacob, Grant, Brody, Kash, Jared, and Livy.
All are invited to a visitation with Marjorie's family on Tuesday, June 1, 2021 from 11:00AM-2:00PM and 5:00-7:00PM at Coltrain Funeral Home, LLC, 134 River Street, Middleburgh. A funeral service in celebration of her life will be held at 10:00AM on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 at the Middleburgh Reformed Church, with Pastor Jeffrey Kelley officiating. Interment will follow in Middleburgh Cemetery. Social distancing and facial covering will be respected by all attending.
Marge’s family requests memorial contributions be made to: Valley Rec Center, 103 Cliff Street-PO Box 191, Middleburgh, NY 12122; or the Food Pantry at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 326 Main St, Middleburgh, NY, 12122; or The Food Pantry at The Reformed Church, 178 River St, Middleburgh, NY, 12122; or The Joshua Project, PO Box 413, Middleburgh, NY 12122.
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