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Old 07-11-2008, 08:18 AM  
Bill Lundberg Bill Lundberg is offline
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Beckingís influence lives on

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Beckingís influence lives on By JOE WALLJASPER Tribune sports editor
Published Wednesday, July 9, 2008
The beauty of the mass e-mails Jason Becking regularly sent was that mixed in with the troubling details of his wifeís fight with cancer, there always was optimism and humor. He invariably closed with a swipe at the University of Kansas and its 'stupid shoe-wearing mythical birds.' All except the last e-mail. Thatís the one in which Jason revealed that his wife, Sarah, died Monday at age 36.
Sarah Messer graduated from Rock Bridge High School in 1990 and went on to study photojournalism at the University of Missouri. She met Jason, a Malden native, at MU, and they married in 1999. At the time, he was the sports information director at Columbia College and she was working at Softlight Photography.
I met Sarah and Jason later that summer when I was the editor of Inside Mizzou Sports magazine. I provided most of the words, and she provided most of the photos. You couldnít find a more easygoing, genuinely nice person - and it didnít hurt that she could deliver the goods with her camera.
Sarah eventually went into business for herself, specializing in childrenís portraits and sports photography. She was a fixture on the sidelines at Missouri football games and on the baseline at MU basketball games.
Jason also moved on to a new job at Millerís Professional Imaging. Along the way, the Beckings started a family, adding children Adelaide and Jack.
In May 2006 came the stunning news that Sarah had been diagnosed with carcinoid tumors on her liver. What followed was two years of searching for treatments that could make the problem go away. Still, Sarah didnít miss any games and always had a smile on her face. Jason provided the e-mail updates to friends, and for some reason, his parting shots at KU were reassuring. As long as he could joke about the Jayhawks, maybe this would still turn out all right.
On June 26 of this year, Jason reported that he had received great news from her doctors after five hours of surgery in New Orleans to remove the tumors from her liver. He hoped that after a few more days in the hospital, they would be able to return to Columbia in time for 'Poke a Beaker with a Sparkler Day' - also known as the Fourth of July.
But complications arose, and Sarahís condition worsened. It was jarring to read that she needed a ventilator to breathe. Still, Jason reported small signs of progress and gleefully noted that a friend had a sent a blue bedpan with a Jayhawk on the side.
But yesterdayís news was no laughing matter. Sarah was gone, leaving a grieving and bewildered family.
'She was a loving wife, a great friend, had a happy spirit, saw the best in people, and was an outstanding mother,' Jason wrote. 'Ö Thereís simply nothing about it that seems fair or right, but I guess thatís why they call it fate. Perhaps the incident two years ago was simply a wake-up call so we could fully appreciate these past two years, which we certainly did.'
Last night, I looked back at Sarahís work from the 2007 Missouri football season in an online portfolio at becking.zenfolio.com. There was Gary Pinkel trotting onto the field before the opener against Illinois, when no one suspected the accomplishments to come. There were spectacular aerial photos of a packed Memorial Stadium before the rout of Nebraska. There were shots of jubilation after the Cotton Bowl victory over Arkansas.
Maybe you didnít know Sarah, but check out those photos and let her bring a little joy to your life. And do Jason one favor: Linger a little longer on the shots of a certain game against the 'stupid shoe-wearing mythical birds.'
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Old 07-11-2008, 08:48 AM   #2
kepp kepp is offline
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I read about this on tigerboard. Sad no matter who you root for.
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