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'The smile on her face could make you happy'

November 30, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Jessica Nichole Becker's loved ones said her smile was enough to cheer up anyone, regardless of the situation.

Some of them spent much of Sunday and Monday looking at pictures of her and reminiscing about the 20-year-old, who died over the weekend as a result of injuries sustained in a one-vehicle crash a week earlier.

Maryland State Police Trooper Brian K. Smith said that Becker, of Greencastle Pike, northwest of Hagerstown, was pronounced dead at Washington County Hospital late Saturday or early Sunday, a week after she sustained massive head trauma in a Nov. 21 crash on Md. 63.

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She was thrown from a 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier during a crash, reported about 11:36 p.m., while trying to avoid a deer in the road, according to a Maryland State Police news release. The car left the road, struck a guardrail and jumped over a concrete embankment, police said.

Jessica Becker's father, Rick L. Becker, described himself as "broken" while he attempted to create a PowerPoint presentation for Friday's funeral services.

"I'm just reminiscing, looking at pictures," he said Monday.

Her death came two years to the month after her brother Christopher S. Becker, 22, died, just two days before Jessica Becker's 18th birthday.

Their father struggled to put his feelings about the family's losses into perspective.

"I can't describe it ... devastated, crushed," he said. "I can't put it into any other words."

He described his daughter as a bubbly young woman who loved to meet people and make them happy.

"She didn't have any problem just walking up to people, especially people who were sad. She liked cheering them up," Rick Becker said. "It was like a ministry to her, to become friends with people, especially ones that were battling issues."

Jessica Becker was a student at Hagerstown Community College studying elementary education. She made the dean's list for the spring 2004 semester.

Her father said working with children always seemed to be her calling. Rick Becker said his daughter was like "a little mommy" when her mother, Angela Becker, used to run a day-care business out of their home.

"She's always enjoyed helping kids, even when she was a kid herself," he said.

He said Jessica Becker was an involved member of the Virginia Avenue Church of God, played softball while a student at North Hagerstown High School, and was employed as a summer worker with St. Lawrence Cement and part time at Sears.

It was at Sears that the 2002 North Hagerstown High School graduate met her boyfriend, Frank Hottle Jr., Hottle said.

Hottle, 24, of Halfway, said they had been dating for about one year, and that he planned to propose to her in 2005.

Hottle said one of the most memorable things about Jessica Becker was her smile.

"It didn't matter what kind of mood you were in, the smile on her face could make you happy," Hottle said. "I loved her more than anything."

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