Chris Rettkowski learned firsthand the positive impact his mother has on other people’s lives, including his own. When his father died of a brain tumor four-and-a-half years ago, Chris and his sister, Lynne, were left looking for answers.

Their mother, Becky Rettkowski, became “the glue that held the family together,” he said in a letter nominating her for the 2003 Washington State University Mom of the Year award.

She and four other finalists for WSU Mom were recognized April 12 during the Mom’s Weekend Brunch on campus.

Nothing could replace the love his mother has provided, Chris said. Her constant support allowed him to focus on attaining his dreams.

She supported his decision to enroll at WSU and pursue a degree in sport management, even though she knew it meant he would probably not return to the family farm at Wilbur. Having graduated in May 2003, he plans to pursue a master’s degree at Florida State University and a career in sport administration.

“Mom is a caring, loving, and devoted person, . . . like most mothers. What makes her different is her desire to care for others, even those she has never met,” he wrote in his letter.

Becky Rettkowski earned a degree in home economics from Whitworth College, but adopted WSU when Lynne (’97 Ornamental Horticulture) enrolled.

As a farm mom, her care extends far beyond her own family and children. She has been a Cub Scout leader, served on the Eagle Scout board of review, and chaired fundraising activities for Scouts and for the maintenance and operation of the local swimming pool. She has mentored students in the elementary school who are struggling in math and English. And she donates time at the church daycare center, serves on the endowment committee, and co-chairs the “Christmas on the Hill” charity event that benefits children.

Earlier this year, she took her children to the Rose Bowl.

“My mother really tires to never miss out on anything at or connected to WSU, despite her busy schedule at home,” Chris said. “Mom’s Weekend might be her favorite time of the year. Sometimes I think she likes being here [WSU] more than I do.”