Jim Sabol, Photos by Ken Liesse
On May 14th at the NMRA/4D Spring Meet, a surprised Ted Becker was presented with the 2016 Golden Grabiron Service Award for 2016 (formerly the Man of the Year Award). Called to the podium during the annual business meeting, Ted was presented with the award by a committee of the previous years’ winners Jim Sabol, Russ Segner, and Jim Younkins. In presenting the award, committee members remarked on how easy it was to unanimously and enthusiastically select Ted as his name kept popping up for all his many and continued services to the Fourth Division.
Among those clapping loudest for Ted were several previous award recipients: Scott Buckley, J.J.Johnson, Walt Huston, Ed Liesse, Gay Liesse, Al Lowe, Jeff Moorman, Jack Hamilton, Di Voss, Gene Swanson, Dale and Diane Kraus.
The text of Ted’s award testimonial:
The Golden Grab Iron Service Award is given each year to a member of the 4th Division, Pacific Northwest Region, National Model Railroad Association, who exemplifies extraordinary service to the organization. For 2016, the selection committee, comprised of the immediate past three honorees, has chosen Ted Becker for his outstanding longtime contributions to the hobby, to the NMRA, especially the 4th Division, and to the very successful Mount Vernon clinic.
As a child, Ted was enthralled by the large Lionel train exhibit at a downtown Chicago department store. Inspired by the technology involved in model railroading, Ted earned a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from Valparaiso U. and, lucky for us, came to the Pacific Northwest in 1967, performing electrical engineering work for Boeing and other contractors. Always the scholar, Ted went on to earn his Master of Software Engineering in 1990.
Almost from the moment Ted arrived in the Northwest, he began looking for ways to help fellow modelers. Ted served several terms as PNR Librarian, preserving board minutes and records of the association. Ted was the first non-charter member of the famous Swamp Creek and Western HO Association in Edmonds. Responding to a request from the 4D superintendent to generate interest in the north part of the district, Ted founded the Monroe clinic and chaired the monthly meetings for 5 ½ years. He also supported the opening of a hobby shop near his home in Monroe where modelers could meet others with similar interests and learn of the NMRA and the 4th Division.
Ted also enjoys radio-controlled model aircraft as well as working on his home layout, the HO scale Algona-Pacific Railroad featuring transition era Northern Pacific and Great Northern steam power. The layout includes, naturally, an electronically controlled staging yard.
Ted is a frequent attendee at 4D clinics, mini meets, and conventions. Ted often goes beyond attending by offering to share his knowledge in presentations both locally and at the NMRA conventions. His expertise includes DCC-friendly turnout wiring, CAD Rail, Decoder Pro, and servo-powered turnouts. And that’s just this month! It seems certain that whatever the cutting edge topics 4D meets will encompass in the future, Ted Becker will be there offering a clinic to help his fellow modelers catch on and catch up.