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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

BECKER, Francis H.

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BECKER, Francis H. (Dubuque, IA, Oct. 15, 1915--Bellingham, WA, Feb. 3. 2011). The GREAT DEPRESSION began while Becker was in high school. To help his family with expenses, he dug ditches for the Dubuque Water Works to pay the family's water bill. He worked in the kitchen of ROSHEK'S DEPARTMENT STORE to pay the family's clothing account. After graduating from COLUMBIA ACADEMY in Dubuque, he enrolled at St. Louis University, followed by Washington University Law School. (1)

Upon graduation from law school in 1939, he returned to Dubuque where he opened a law office. Becker served as Assistant Dubuque County attorney from 1941 to 1942 when law practice was interrupted by WORLD WAR II. (2) He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and was assigned to fly "the Hump" over the Himalayas to supply the troops located in China. During the course of his service, he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, a bronze Oak Leaf Cluster and the Presidential Unit Citation.

Following the war, Becker returned to Dubuque to resume his law practice and served as the Assistant Dubuque County Attorney from 1945 to 1946. In 1947, Becker was elected Dubuque County Attorney, a position he held four years. (3)

On September 20, 1965, Governor Harold Hughes appointed Becker to the Iowa Supreme Court. Being a strong liberal voice on the Court, he often found himself on the losing end of the case "discussions," resulting in his being relegated a dissenting, rather than a majority opinion. During his tenure on the Court, he wrote 299 opinions, 127 of which were dissents. He was proud to see many of his dissents adopted by the Court in later years. He employed the first female law clerk on the Court, a practice that became common.

On March 31, 1972, Becker resigned from the Court and returned to private practice in the firm of Patterson, Lorentzen, Timmons, Irish, Duffield & Becker in Des Moines, where he stayed until his retirement in 1991. He also taught a course in appellate advocacy at the Drake University Law School. (4)

See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=IX40jI8NtQA



1. "Iowa Judicial Branch," Online: https://www.iowacourts.gov/for-the-public/iowa-courts-history/past-justices/francis-h-becker/

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.