Christopher Becker was Hicksville, born and raised, through and through, to the end.
He was the guy who stayed local, who took over his family's garage door business, who still had the friends he made as a kid. He and one of his best friends married sisters, taking them from childhood buddies to adult friends to relatives.
This weekend, Hicksville said goodbye to Becker, 44, who died Feb. 17 after a snowmobile accident upstate that occurred the day before. So many people came for his wake Friday that police had to stop traffic to let them cross the street. And afterward, more than 100 people stayed in the funeral parking lot, telling stories for hours.
Becker had been snowmobiling on Long Lake in the Adirondacks when the lake ice began to separate, State Police said. Becker was thrown from the snowmobile and struck his head, police said.
"The ice was cracking around him, and he went over the handlebars," said Christopher Kelly, 41, of Hicksville, who was with him.
The two men have known each other through most of their lives, starting when Kelly was about 13. Becker was a bit older, and Kelly looked up to him as they played lacrosse together for Hicksville High School.
"He was the toughest, coolest guy around," Kelly said.
Their friendship grew from hanging out as kids, to having serious late-night conversations as they turned toward adulthood — to marrying a pair of sisters from the neighborhood.
When he was just 12, Becker fell in love with the girl who would become his wife, Kelly said. He would tell people he was going to marry Tricia and he did.
When Becker graduated high school, he worked his way into the family business, Raynor Garage Door, which had a store in Mineola for decades.
At the time, Gary LaGrega worked for the company, and he helped train Becker to install garage doors. LaGrega was employed there for 35 years, and he watched the young man master the business and eventually come to run it with Becker's brother. It's now called Becker Garage Door and it's located in Hicksville.
Becker had a magnetic personality and his roster of friends grew over the years, LaGrega said. Their golf outings expanded to include some 16 men. There were also fishing trips, softball games and vacations.
"He was a man's man," said LaGrega, 61, of Levittown. "He was very socially active. A great guy."
Becker often met up with old friends to share a beer and catch up on their lives.
"We were all Hicksville guys," Kelly said. "He still wore his Hicksville High School T-shirt."
His community activities extended into the lives of his two daughters. For instance, he coached the basketball and softball teams of his daughter Hailey, who is 13. He was also involved with the volleyball and basketball games of his other daughter, Lexi, who is 24.
For himself, golf was his passion, Kelly said.
"He'd work six days, 12 hours a day, and still go golfing," he said. "He'd even go by himself if nobody was around."
Becker's funeral was Saturday at The Parkway Community Church in Hicksville. His body will be cremated.
In his eulogy, Kelly said: "Call Google and Wikipedia and tell them to update their definition of a man. Chris Becker — great dad, husband, provider, coach, tough, fearless, hard worker, made time for everyone, late night deep emotional talker … Chris Becker, you were the man many of us wished we were."
Survivors, in addition to his wife and daughters, include his mother and father, Arthur and Denise Becker; and his brother, Denis Becker, all of Hicksville.
CORRECTION: The location of Becker's funeral was incorrect in a previous version of this story.