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Nov. 16, 1933 – Nov. 8, 2013

Henry F. Becker of Williamsville, a longtime health insurance executive and consultant who served as senior vice president of Blue Shield of Western New York from 1980 to 1992, died Friday in DeGraff Nursing Home after a long illness. He was 79.

Born in Brooklyn, Mr. Becker graduated from Long Island City High School in Queens.

From 1952 to 1972, Mr. Becker worked for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in Manhattan as a group claims consultant, then moved to Utica, where he was director of the first Medicare Part B claim operation in Utica. He went on to establish the upstate Medicare Part B processing center in Binghamton. In 1972, he joined Blue Shield of Western New York in Buffalo, where he served as senior vice president. From 1988 to 1991, he also served as chief executive officer of Blue Shield of Northeastern New York during its merger with Blue Shield of Western New York.

Mr. Becker frequently represented Blue Shield at meetings with members of Congress and with state, county and local elected officials.

As a youth in Brooklyn and Queens, Mr. Becker was a talented baseball pitcher who was invited by the Brooklyn Dodgers to participate in spring training in 1952. An avid amateur bowler, he participated in various bowling leagues in Utica and Buffalo, frequently winning awards and occasionally competing in professional/amateur tournaments.

He and his wife, both recreational golfers, were members of the Brookfield Country Club in Clarence from the mid-1970s to 2002. He was a former board member of the Utica Zoological Society and Utica Kiwanis Club.

Besides his wife, the former Teresa Guiliano, Mr. Becker is survived by two sons, Kenneth and Keith; four daughters, Susan Dundon, Barbara McCroskey, Nancy Carroll and Karen Brown; and a brother, Michael.

A memorial service will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Perna, Dengler, Roberts Funeral Home, 1671 Maple Road, Amherst.