Col. Merrill M. Becker Jr., 89, died at his Riverside home on Jan. 27, 2018. 

A graduate of St. Ignatius High School, Northwestern University, The Command and General Staff College United States Army and the U.S. Army War College, he served as a soldier and Ranger in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army National Guard for 40 years. 

He spent decades as the owner of Merrill Becker, Knoll and Associates Real Estate and as a Triton College trustee. He was also a former member of the Riverside Economic Development Commission.

He was inspired by art, literature, teaching, business, his community and the lives of children, and he was always interested in the views and opinions of those who entered his life. As a teacher, mentor and friend, he had the unique ability of making people feel confident in themselves and happy about their lives. 

Col. Becker was the husband of Rose (nee Montifeltro) for 62 years; the father of Caroline (Brian) Joss; the grandfather of Catherine and Madeline; the uncle of many nieces and nephews; and a cousin of many. 

Visitation is on Friday, Feb. 9 from 8:30 to 10:15 a.m. at Ivins/Moravecek Funeral Home, 80 E. Burlington St. in Riverside, followed by a funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m. at St. Mary Church, 126 E. Herrick Road, Riverside. Inurnment is at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside. 

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in memoriam to Mercy Home for Boys and Girls at