Former Georgetown professor Joseph M. Becker, S.J., died Oct. 10 of Alzheimer’s disease in Clarkston, Mich. Becker, a research professor at Georgetown’s Jesuit Center for Social Studies from 1972 to 1986, was an expert on social economics and unemployment and the author of seven books on the subject.

“He was an outstanding economist, scholar and academic, as his books testify,” Professor Joseph Durkin, S.J., said. Durkin remembered Becker as a professor who was “very popular with his students, very witty and cheerful.”

“[Fr. Becker] mingled and joked with his students more than the average Jesuit at the time,” Durkin said. On several occasions, Becker took his entire class to watch a football game, he said.

Becker was also “very young looking, athletic and slim,” and was an avid horseracing fan, Durkin said.

“Among the Jesuit brothers, he was known as a good community man,” Durkin said.

In addition to teaching at Georgetown, Becker served as vice chairman of the Federal Advisory Council on Unemployment Insurance and a consultant to the Labor Department, the National Science Foundation and the National Commission on Unemployment Compensation. He taught Latin and Greek in Chicago before serving as an economics professor from 1950 to 1966 in St. Louis, Mo.

After leaving Georgetown in 1986, Becker headed the Jesuit Center for Religious Studies at Xavier University, the school from which he graduated in 1931. Becker also wrote two volumes on the evolution of the Jesuit order in the 1960s.

He leaves no immediate relatives.

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