Riding into retirement

Becky Lewis retires after 27 years with ANSC

By Victoria Pilger ’15

Leather pants, a black-fringed leather jacket and a bright red bandana serve as typical weekend attire for Becky Lewis. Until recently, Becky spent her weekdays working as senior office associate for the Department of Animal Science where she was commonly referred to as Mrs. Becky.

Mrs. Becky and Santa Claus the Toy Run in Dec. 2013.

Becky with Santa Claus at the Toy Run in Dec. 2013.

Few people know that Becky’s favorite hobby is riding her 2004 Heritage Softail or her 1999 Honda Valkyrie with motor trike conversions alongside her husband David. A typical weekend consists of motorcycle rides across Texas with David and friends.

“I got my first motorcycle right before my 50th birthday and rode it for a year,” Becky said. “After a year we sold that motorcycle and started looking at trikes. They are more fun than the law should allow.”

With Becky’s retirement from Texas A&M on Dec. 19, she now has more time to spend enjoying her unique hobby – during the week or the weekend.

About Mrs. Becky

Becky and David are both from Tolar, Texas, a small town with a population of 681, located between Granbury and Stephenville. Growing up in a rural, agricultural town, Becky is no stranger to the animal agriculture industry.

“My four sisters and I turned all the calves and goats into pets,” Becky said. “With five girls you would expect dresses and girly stuff — nope. We spent weekends riding in rodeos or swimming the horses through the tanks bareback. We were notorious for catching and raising every wild critter from baby armadillos to baby skunks.”

Becky and David return to Tolar often to visit family. They have two children, Ryan, 34 and Deidre, 31. They have a six-year-old grandson Sean who lives in Granbury with his mother, Deidre.

Secretary for the Undergraduate Office

Becky’s role in the Department of Animal Science undergraduate office included secretarial work including reserving rooms, answering phones, making appointments for undergraduate advisors, assisting with new student conferences, helping with livestock shows and contests, and coordinating make-up quizzes or exams that students miss.

becky“She was instrumental in assisting students to schedule academic advising and worked closely with the organization of ANSC 107, 108, 242, 302, 315 and 481 courses,” said Chris Skaggs, Ph.D., professor of animal science and associate dean for student development. “She assisted with preparation of materials for livestock judging contests impacting 5,500 contestants annually.”

Interacting with more than 1,000 undergraduate students made every day unique.

“There was no such thing as a typical day [in the office],” Becky said. “Every day was different and always busy. It’s kind of like being a policeman in the middle of a busy intersection.”

Housed in the same office as the undergraduate advisors, Becky regularly worked with students and parents, faculty and staff. Known for her festive holiday decorations and the bottomless candy bowl, Becky sat comfortably in the center of the office.

Becky Lewis won the President's Meritorious Award in 2010.

Becky Lewis won the President’s Meritorious Service Award in 2010.

“Mrs. Becky has been a constant in our department,” said Donna Witt, animal science academic advisor. “We have many former students who are now bringing their children into our office for a prospective student visit and they were surprised when Becky remembered exactly who they are. She knew the ins and outs of our office and we will greatly miss her support and daily contribution.”

Becky received the Haas-Litterst Outstanding Service Award multiple times, the Saddle & Sirloin Club Support Staff Award, the Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence, and the President’s Meritorious Service Award, Skaggs said.

“I have known Mrs. Becky for 22 years, and I appreciated her professionalism to do a job accurately and on time,” Skaggs said.

In addition to Dr. Skaggs, over the span of her 27 years Becky worked closely with faculty including the late Dr. Howard Hesby, the late Dr. Ronnie Edwards, Dr. John Edwards, Dr. Terrence Greathouse, Dr. Jodi Sterle, Dr. Glenn Holub, Dr. Shawn Ramsey and Leslie Frenzel; and academic advisors the late Emilie Oevermann, Donna Witt, Kelly Essler, Amber Skinner and Sarah Sharpton.

Plans for Retirement

David and Becky at Hoosier Pass in Colorado.

David and Becky at Hoosier Pass in Colorado.

Becky retired at the conclusion of the fall semester. She plans to learn to sleep past 4 a.m. and sit on the porch with David, drinking coffee as the sun rises. Also, there are places she and her husband have not traveled, so they plan to pack a bag, hop on their bikes and see where they end up at the end of the day.

“Mrs. Becky always went above and beyond to take care of us and our students,” Donna said. “She made each of us feel really special and she will be greatly missed. She has served as a second mom to so many of our students during their time here in our department and she always kept things flowing in our office. We wish her the best on this next adventure in her life!”

When a new secretary starts, she will undoubtedly have big shoes — or, rather, leather riding boots — to fill.


Victoria Pilger is a senior animal science major from College Station.

For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, contact Courtney Coufal at cacoufal@tamu.edu or (979) 845-1542.

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