In Memory of Carl F. Becker 1919 - 2013

It's with deep regret that I inform you of the passing of Carl F. Becker, who passed away peacefully in Chicago on Wednesday, January 30, 2013.

For many of us, Carl epitomized the ideal that every violinmaker strives to be: totally dedicated to the craft, always striving for perfection, and unwilling to compromise the quality of his work under any circumstances. He and his father, Carl Sr., were the deans of American violin making-and together-they set a very high standard for the craft. What follows is his biography from the Carl Becker & Sons, Ltd. website

Christopher Germain
President Violin Society of America
Violin Society of America

Carl F. Becker

It could be said that Carl F. Becker (1919 -2013) was born with a fiddle in his hands; violins in his blood; that he was to the manner born; a chip off the old block. After Carl's graduation from High School in 1937 he went to work for William Lewis and Son as an apprentice in the violin shop. He worked there, under his father's supervision, for the next four and a half years, and during that time completed his apprenticeship and advanced into the world of violin making and violin restoration. Carl F. has, indeed, achieved such a reputation for care and craftsmanship that he has been entrusted with the task of taking apart a violin that is thought by many musicians to be the world's finest- the "Lady Blunt," a Stradivarius that was made in 1721.
He was mustered into the military service in November, 1941. He ranked second in his Company in rifle marksmanship, with the rating of Expert Rifleman; and at the completion of his basic training he was selected, as one of eight men from his Company, for appointment to Officer Candidate School. At the time of his discharge, February 21, 1946, he was a First Lieutenant, and he entered the Air Force Reserve with the rank of Captain. He has since been advanced to the rank of Major. It was in 1946 when Carl F. rejoined his father at the bench of William Lewis and Son. Carl F. Becker had completed four violins at the young age of 90 and had two violas and one violin that he completed in January 2011.

Although Carl's physical health eventually gave way, his mind always seemed sharp and he never seemed to tire of talking to colleagues about the craft. He will be greatly missed.

(posted 1/31/2013)