June 30, 2020 – Washington Co., WI – There will be a Celebration of Life this afternoon starting at 4 p.m. for Washington County Judge Richard Becker who passed away June 22, 2020, at the Aurora Medical Center in Hartford at the age of 84.
Becker served as served as a judge for Washington County from 1978 until his retirement in 1999. He also came back to the bench, briefly, to sub on a rotating basis in 2001 when Washington County Judge Annette Ziegler was on a temporary medical leave.
Now, a State Supreme Court Justice, Ziegler is set to speak at today’s gathering at the Schauer Arts Center, 147 N. Rural Street, Hartford.
Retired Washington County Judge Andrew Gonring said Judge Becker was an inspiration to him on how he tried to conduct himself during his 20 years on the bench. “From my standpoint he got things done,” said Gonring. “He knew the case; he knew the law and he got things done and there was no doubt about how you were going to conduct yourself in Richard T. Becker’s courtroom.”
Gonring held Judge Becker in high esteem; he also chose to follow in his footsteps. “Of all the judges I went before in my 23 years as a private practice lawyer the one judge I tried to model myself after was Judge Becker,” said Gonring. “I liked the way he conducted himself. He was a great judge but he was a no-nonsense judge. He expected people to do their job and he proceeded accordingly. I modeled myself after Dick Becker more than any other judge.”
Washington County Judge Jim Pouros practiced law at the same time Becker was an attorney. Pouros will be a guest speaker during this afternoon’s Celebration of Life in Hartford.
Below are some comments from Pouros about Judge Becker.
“I admired him immensely. I am old enough that I practiced law in cases with him before he became a judge. He was without a doubt the single most skilled private practice lawyer in Hartford.
“I like to recall there was a time when he was practicing privately in Hartford but was also the part time Washington County District Attorney and a part time what was at the time Corporation Council, now it is called County Attorney.
“He did those two very important part-time jobs while practicing privately. I think he, and my experience goes back 50 years, he is the most scholarly judge we ever had in this county and much admired.
“He was diligent; he worked extremely hard. He carried all that hard work, that application of himself as a private lawyer to the bench and he an acute intelligence that showed itself regularly in the courtroom.”
A Celebration of Life gathering for Judge Becker id Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at the Schauer Arts Center (147 N Rural St. Hartford, WI 53027) from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m., with a brief program at 6 p.m.
On a history note: The 1961 photo above is belived to have been his “official” photo when he was the DA and County Attorney in the early 60s, at a time when it was still possible to fill both roles. He was one of the last to do both jobs before the law changed to separate the roles. And he did all of that part time while also working in his private practice with Atty. Arthur C. Snyder in Hartford.