Bob Becker has binders that are chock-full of ideas and inventions, and he’s not slowing down anytime soon, despite the fact he turned 103 on Sept. 11.
Becker has plenty to keep himself busy, including writing a book and buying and selling land.
If he has any hobbies, he describes them as “working.”
The self-described entrepreneur spent nearly his whole life on the move, traveling throughout Europe, South and Central America for business.
“You know how there’s frequent flyers? Well, I was in the air so much, they called me a ‘constant flyer,’” Becker said. He’d go for weeks at a time, flying every day. His late wife of 74 years, Lorraine Carmen Becker, frequently joined him on his trips.
Becker said Lorraine is the true secret to his long life.
“She was the definition of perfection,” he said. “Mentally, physically and morally.”
Together, they had two children and four grandchildren.
“My sister is 76, I’m 71 and my main concern is who is going to take care of him when we pass,” Becker’s son, Bob Becker, said with a laugh.
Becker was born in Seattle and attended Ballard High School but dropped out due to the Great Depression and went to work.
“People would say, ‘well you’re not going to be able to get any jobs if you don’t finish high school,’” Becker said. “I said ‘well, I’ll tell you what — I’ll hire the people who go to college,’ and I did all my life, I hired college people.”
His jobs including selling hamburgers for 5 cents and working at a doughnut shop. He then worked for Midel doing carpentry and sales. Eventually, he decided to take a risk and start his own business: Olympic Building Fabrications, where he worked for about 30 years, traveling the world to promote the construction business.
“I don’t like working for anybody, that’s why I worked for myself,” Becker said.
He later sold his company to Niedermeyer-Martin Co.
Becker moved to Coupeville from Seattle in 2000 and lives on 30 acres of land with his 7-year-old rescue dog, Lucy.
His house is full of mementos from his many adventures, from traveling to countries across the world to evidence of his and his wife’s happy life together. An avid painter, the walls are lined with her artwork.
The biggest change he’s seen in his lifetime is the economy, he said. He has a peice of paper on his dining room table with a list of prices of what everyday items cost in 1933, such as a gallon of gas for 10 cents, loaf of bread for 7 cents and a pound of hamburger meat for 11 cents.
Lately, he’s been keeping busy working on a book, titled “Fight Back – It’s Fun or Hey! Those @!$!%*’s Will Do It To You Everytime… If You Let Them.” The book will describe his life and eight legal battles he’s fought throughout the years, from patent infringement and land disputes. He expects to have it done and ready to publish in 6 to 8 months, he said.
Some other ideas he’s had include a magnetic light bulb called the “Becker’s Bulb,” a lamp to reduce air-pollution, a fast-food noodle drive-in, improvements to the show “Shark Tank,” and his small printing business where buyers can send him a photo at his email, email@example.com and he will print the image onto a paper-sized peice of fabric or a pillow case. He’s sent many of his sparks of inspiration to businesses throughout the years, some successfully adopted, he said.
How does feel feel about turning 103?
“It feels no different from when I was 80,” he said.