Caroline Becker said her career of service to The King's Daughters Child Care Center and the International Order of The King's Daughters and Sons is all because of her mother.
Becker, of Wheeling, said she remembers when she was young and her mother attended King's Daughters board meetings. One day after Becker's first year of college in 1946, her mother told her she was accepted to attend a King's Daughters summer scholarship program for youth in Chatauqua, N.Y.
"My mother was my start, and it's been a wonderful ... journey," said Becker during a luncheon in her honor Tuesday at Christ United Methodist Church, Wheeling, hosted by The King's Daughters Child Care Center in Wheeling.
Caroline Becker, left, receives a plaque from Dawn Didriksen, executive director of The King’s Daughters Child Care Center in Wheeling .
After Chatauqua, Becker joined the Jean Laupp Thomas Circle in Wheeling; served as the West Virginia branch president and held the post of North American Indian director from 1974-78.
She recalled that when she was asked to be branch president, she sat down to supper and asked her husband, Willard, and sons Ronald and Gary what they thought.
"This one here, our Ron," she said, pointing to her son, "said, 'Why not?' So there we are."
"My family has always been behind me, very much so," she added. Her husband, sons and daughter-in-law all attended the luncheon, along with about 50 friends, King's Daughters circle members, board members, staff and supporters.
Beth Fanta, current West Virginia branch president, spoke about Becker's accomplishments and dedication to the King's Daughters missions.
"As director (of the North American Indian department), she awarded college scholarships to students on Indian reservations who may not otherwise have been able to further their educations. Donations to other projects within reservation communities and churches also were made."
Fanta also read a letter from Frances Buskey Sellew, president of the International Order of The King's Daughters and Sons, in which Sellew recalled Becker giving her a tour of the Wheeling child care center and how proud Becker was of the center and its staff.
"Certainly through your steadfastness, hundreds of children have been cared for in a safe, loving and educational environment. What a wonderful legacy of service you have accomplished."
Fanta said Becker's "foresight and connections" helped the Wheeling child care center secure $200,000 in donations from a group of New Jersey women who sold their King's Daughters Home.
Dawn Didriksen, the child care center's executive director, presented Becker with a plaque and a poster adorned with colorful handprints of center's charges.
The center is a nonprofit child care facility on 13th Street in East Wheeling, serving nearly 80 children. It has been in operation in the city for more than 100 years.
The International Order of the King's Daughters and Sons was founded in New York in 1886. Three years later, the West Virginia branch opened in Wheeling, and within a year, Didriksen said, the members opened a child care center for women who worked in the city's factories and textile mills.