Martin Cleveland Becker

Published 8:00 pm Wednesday, April 4, 2012

     Martin Cleveland “Mike” Becker, 73, died April 3, 2012, at St. Dominic’s Medical Center, following a brief illness.

     A native and lifelong resident of Brookhaven, Mr. Becker was the son of the late Martin G. “Cleve” Becker and the late Ruth Hoyer Becker. He was a 1956 graduate of Brookhaven High School, where he was president of his senior class (“tough as nails, hard as bricks”) before attending the University of Mississippi. At Old Miss, Mr. Becker was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and graduated in 1960 with a degree in Business Administration. He served honorably in the United States Army Reserves before returning home to work in his family’s business, Brookhaven Brickyard.

     After eight years of employment with the brickyard, Mr. Becker went to work with Southern Wholesale Company, retiring after a twenty-year career as a vice president of the company. In 1974, Mr. Becker opened his first Cracker Barrel convenience store on Highway 51 South in Brookhaven, subsequently expanding the business to include four locations and Cracker Barrel Barbeque, Inc.

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     Mr. Becker was a past member of the local board of directors of Trustmark National Bank and served multiple terms as president of the board of Brookhaven Country Club. He also served as a board member for the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, president of the Lincoln-Lawrence County Ole Miss Alumni Association and president of the Lincoln-Lawrence County Chapter of the Red Cross. As an active civic leader, Mr. Becker supported the King’s Daughters Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, the Brookhaven Animal Rescue League and the Brookhaven Trust for the Preservation of History, Culture and Arts. He was a life member of the Ole Miss Alumni Association, a prominent member of the Mississippi Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, an inductee of the Somerset Chapter of the Magna Carta Barons and a congregant of Faith Presbyterian Church. In 2003, Mr. Becker was honored by the Crewe of Ceres to serve as king of that organization’s prestigious Harvest Ball.

     Mr. Becker is survived by his wife, Lu Carruth Becker; two daughters, Angela Becker Balcom and husband, Mike, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., and Michele Becker, of Biloxi; sister, Barbara Becker Bailey; three stepsons; a granddaughter; and numerous nieces and nephews.

     He was predeceased by two sisters, Jane Becker Heidelberg and Elizabeth “Lydy” Becker Caldwell.

     He will be remembered as a pillar of the Brookhaven business community, a loving and strong husband and father, and for his courtly and gentle manner.

     Funeral services are 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 5, at Riverwood Family Funeral Service, with burial in Rosehill Cemetery.

     Visitation is Thursday from 2 until 4 p.m. at the funeral home.

     In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Brookhaven Animal Rescue League or Mississippi School of the Arts.

     To express your thoughts to the family, you may visit and click on his name to leave a comment.