Over the course of his career, John Becker worked with both the Michigan Central Railroad and the New York Central Railroad. Raised in a railroad family, Becker worked to rise within the corporations and relocated to several communities throughout his life. Like many of his generation, his railway service was interrupted by his recruitment in World War I. Although wounded in the war, Becker survived and returned to his former career.
In 1908, when John Becker was age 14, he was living with his parents, Walter and Cynthia, in West Lorne, Ontario. Walter was employed by the Michigan Central Railroad as the station agent in West Lorne (then known as Bismarck). John and his brother Wilfred attended high school in Dutton, taking the train to school each day. By 1912, John was employed by the Michigan Central as a clerk-stenographer to the trainmaster in St. Thomas.
John decided to participate in military training in London and became a sergeant in the reserves. On September 3, 1915, he took the train to West Lorne to seek his parents’ consent to enlist. In his memoirs he wrote;
That letter was one of the hardest I ever wrote and I was never more sincere.
My attitude, in the light of subsequent experiences, has changed somewhat. I
actually believe I could brave the jeers of the multitudes of self-appointed
recruiting assistants now that I know how stupid and absolutely useless war is.
Following the war, John returned to employment with the Michigan Central. He was married in 1921 and the MCR moved him to Windsor for four years. Returning after that to St. Thomas, he moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1929, the year that the new Michigan Central Station was completed. He was an assistant manager with the Traffic Department, rising steadily in the ranks of what became the New York Central Railroad.