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March 29, 2020

3/3/2020 9:44:00 AM
2 ready to square off in coroner race
Earl Deckard
Earl Deckard
Dr. Vickie Becker
Dr. Vickie Becker

Local races in the upcoming primaries are rare, but one race is already shaping up for the Nov. 3 general election.

Incumbent Crawford County Coroner Earl Deckard is unopposed on the Republican ballot in the March 17 primary. Meanwhile, on the Democrat side, Dr. Vickie Becker is unopposed in her bid to challenge him in the fall.

Earl Deckard

An Oblong native, Deckard has been coroner 24 years, and wants to continue providing the same quality of service to community.

"Over the years, I've built a good coroner's office," Deckard said, explaining he has provided the public with service it deserved and results it sought.

"I've also built up a rapport with law enforcement - state, city and county," he said. "We work well together."

Deckard is a licensed paramedic and co-owner of United Life Care Ambulance. He is also a volunteer firefighter with the Oblong Fire Department. A 1974 graduate of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, he earned a degree in mortuary science/funeral services. He still has a state funeral director/embalming license.

He also is a medical legal death investigator and follows the standards of the Illinois Coroner's Training Board.

Each year, the state mandates coroners take 24 hours of additional education and training. Deckard takes more training than that.

"That way, I can stay up on things we need to accomplish in a small community and get the results we want, yet still be able to stay within our financial means," he said.

Deckard is a member of the First Christian Church of Oblong. He and his wife, Valinda, have two sons, two daughters-in-law and three grandchildren.

Dr. Vickie Becker

Originally from LaGrange, Becker has been an internist at Crawford Memorial Hospital since 2009.

She graduated from the University of Illinois in Champaign and earned her medical degree from Loyola University's Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood. This is her first run for public office.

"I want to do it for the community. I think I would be a good coroner," Becker said, explaining she has a strong basis in medical knowledge as well as a range of experience that should help her do the job.

She previously worked as an assistant to the Cook County medical examiner, helping with autopsies. Becker also served a residency working in an emergency room where she saw "a lot of awesome and terrible things."

Her work with hospice, on the other hand, has given her experience in dealing compassionately with the dying and their families.

On top of that, "I'm really interested in the causes of things," Becker said. This curiosity should aid her when it comes to uncovering causes of death, she said.

If elected, Becker hopes she will be able to use the position to help educate the public. She would especially like to go into schools to speak on the dangers of opioid addiction.

"I hope we can prevent some of these deaths," she said.

Becker is a member of the American Medical Association and the Illinois State Medical Society. She is the former chief medical officer at Cotillion Ridge and has also worked with residents of the Heritage in Hutsonville.

Becker has three grown children and three large dogs. She enjoys scuba diving, reading and painting.

She also performs with the Lincoln Trail College Community Choir and its Camerata Choir. She has appeared in LTC theater productions and is in the upcoming Matilida.

Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, March 8, 2020
Article comment by: Sandra Keenan

I believe the County is in dire need of a new Coroner, one that can report medical facts expertise on each individual case. I highly appraise mrs. Becker on her professional and personal unbiased thoughts. Out with the old and settled ways and in with the New that cares.

Posted: Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Article comment by: Marie Kennedy

When my daughter died in Indiana, neither Deckard or the Sheriff's Dept. took the time to come out and tell me personally after the Bartholomew County Coroner contacted them and asked for help locating me. Dr. Becker will have my vote for sure.

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