David Alvord Becker was a dedicated member of the American Society of Parasitologists and a charter member of the Southwestern Association of Parasitologists (SWAP).  He received his Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska under the tutelage of Dr. Harold W. Manter and accepted faculty position at the University of Arkansas, where he rose to the rank of professor. He was widely recognized at the University of Arkansas for his lucid and stimulating lectures. His parasitology courses attracted undergraduate and graduate students alike and his courses were always enrolled to the maximum allowed by the Department of Zoology.

Dave was best known and appreciated for his devotion to his students and the warm family atmosphere that was characteristic of his laboratory.  Together with his loving wife, Jeanie, Dave would look for any excuse to host a party to bring the students and their families together.  A Becker party would begin with a round of Old Milwaukee beer (Dave appreciated the fact that Old Milwaukee was cheaper than Budweiser and that the cans contained 14 ounces instead of the conventional 12 ounces!).  The family room at the Becker home contained one of the largest toy boxes known to humanity.  Graduate students’ children quickly learned to head straight for the toy box where they would be joined by Dave’s teenage daughter Barbi who loved children almost as much as Dave.  Former students recall with great fondness watching the Razorbacks or the Kansas City Royals (Dave’s adopted home team) on television while dining on “Becker Burgers”.  Jeanie was a surrogate mother for students and their spouses. She offered advice on pediatricians, schools, and where to get the best prices on household necessities.  In short, Dave and Jeanie opened their hearts and home to students. They were role models of the highest order.

Dave was a dedicated member of SWAP. In addition to being a charter member, he served as Secretary/Treasurer from 1977-1980. (He was always one of the first to arrive on Thursday afternoon and usually the last to leave on Saturday.)  He had a particular affection for graduate students and was always eager to offer advice and words of encouragement, especially to students preparing for their first oral presentation of a scientific paper.  Thus, it is particularly appropriate that Dave’s presence will continue to be felt at SWAP and that deserving graduate students will be the beneficiaries of his devotion to our organization.

Marc Dresden was a faculty member in the biochemistry department at Baylor College of Medicine for 20 years following his post doctoral days at Harvard. In that time he published extensively on Schistosome proteolytic enzymes and trained a multitude of graduate students and post-doc’s.

He was taken from us in 1990 at the much too early age of 51 by colon cancer.  Those of us who knew him would testify to his being an exceptional teacher, a loyal friend, and a gentle and caring human being.

Marc was a longtime member and supporter of SWAP and a valued colleague of many here tonight.  I have no doubt that he would be most pleased to be memorialized in this special way.


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