Nancy V. Becker
(9/15/1947—2/14/2008)

Advocate, leader, teacher, docent, mentor

At the then-strictly-oral Lexington School, Nancy Becker learned to sign on the sly. When she was 16, she enrolled at the American School for the Deaf, where she could sign freely—and considered this a rebirth. She graduated from Gallaudet College and earned her Master’s degree in Deaf Education at Western Maryland (now McDaniel) College. An advocate and leader, she was also a superb ASL teacher, and coordinated Northeastern University’s American Sign Language program, helping to gain official recognition for ASL in Massachusetts. She served as consultant to Boston museums. For some 23 years, she lived with multiple sclerosis, with indomitable courage, grace, and humor. She taught, conducted workshops, acted, wrote, played competitive softball, served on and headed local and regional Deaf-community organizations, and remained active until MS curtailed, then stole, her mobility. Characteristically, she arranged that her body be donated to Harvard Medical School for research—in hopes of hastening the day when an effective cure for MS is found.



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