In Memory

Tanya M. Farrens (Becker) VIEW PROFILE

Oct 21, 1968 - Feb 20, 2017

Survived by husband, Patrick L. Becker; children, Jason and Ellie; parents, Michael and Kathryn Farrens; siblings, Bryan Farrens and Scott Farrens (Trista); father-in-law and mother-in-law, Neil and Paula M. Becker.

The family will receive friends Thursday, Feb. 23rd from 6:15pm to 7:30pm at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, with VIGIL SERVICE at 7:30pm at the church.

MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL Friday, Feb. 24th at 11am, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. Entombment, Resurrection. Memorials to the Becker Children Education Fund.


Beloved Gomez Heritage teacher Tanya Becker was devoted to increasing literacy, 'called everyone friend'

By Marcella Mercer / World-Herald staff writer


Tanya Becker’s office at Gomez Heritage Elementary is a testament to her teaching.

The South Omaha school’s principal, John Campin, said the room is full of notes from students thanking their literacy coach. Sometimes there would be messages such as “We love you Mrs. Becker” or “Thanks for teaching me how to read” on her whiteboard.

Becker died in her sleep on Monday. She was 48.  The cause of death was unknown, said Tanya Becker’s father-in-law, Neil Becker.

Tanya Becker was born in Omaha and lived in the city most of her life. She left the area briefly to earn her bachelor’s degree at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and two master’s degrees followed, in literacy and academic leadership.

Becker used her education to further that of others, her father-in-law said. For 25 years she taught in the Omaha Public Schools and also served for some time as an adjunct professor at Concordia University in Seward. Then, in 2009, she landed at Gomez Heritage.  Her focus there was increasing literacy in a school where 58 percent of students learn English as their second language. It was a role she tackled with monthly reading nights, coaching for teachers on literacy strategies, and one-on-one work with students.

On top of these responsibilities, Becker organized literacy groups for her students’ parents. At these meetings, she sometimes helped adults who couldn’t read in English, or at all.  But Becker could connect with any student, Campin said.  “Our reading scores increased significantly because of her ability to teach students, teach teachers, teach parents,” Campin said.

Every morning Becker stood at the doors of the school and greeted students and parents.  “She was always happy and energetic,” Campin said. “She just called everyone friend.”  When the students were smiling, she could be quick with hugs. And when people looked sad, Becker was known to fold her hands into a heart to show she cared.  “She was a defender of people, family, friends, students,” Neil Becker said.  The marquee outside of the school shows how much Tanya Becker meant to those she met. Students helped make the sign, which reads “We love Mrs. Becker our sunshine.”

Besides her father-in-law, Becker is survived by her husband, Patrick Becker; children, Jason and Ellie; parents, Michael and Kathryn Farrens; siblings, Bryan Farrens and Scott Farrens; and mother-in-law, Paula Becker.

Click here to see Tanya M.'s last Profile entry.