Rebecca (Becky) S. Rootes, retired Chief of Management and Administrative Services at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), died February 5 of pancreatic cancer. 

Becky, 69, retired in 2012 after nearly three decades working in a variety of positions at NOAA. 

A 1983 Sea Grant Knauss Fellow, Becky began her work with NOAA as a legislative fellow staffing the former Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee within the House of Representatives. Early in her time in Washington, Becky helped establish the Women’s Aquatic Network, which brings together professionals with interests in marine, coastal and aquatic affairs and promotes the roles of women in these fields. Over the course of her career at NOAA, she represented the Administration in international affairs as a delegate to the International Whaling Commission and International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. 

In retirement, Becky relocated to Onancock, Virginia where she became an accomplished artist and active member of local organizations: the Eastern Shore Art League, the Historic Onancock School and the Historical Society of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. 

Born in Galesburg, Illinois, Becky received her bachelor’s degree in marine biology from Southampton College in 1974. She received her master’s degree in public administration from Texas A&M in 1983 while serving as a marine extension agent with the Texas A&M Marine Advisory Service. She met her husband of almost 40 years, Dr. Edward O. Murdy, while they both served as Peace Corps’ volunteers in the Philippines. 

Becky is survived by her husband and two children; Kirby Rootes-Murdy of Washington D.C.; Kelly Rootes-Murdy of Atlanta, Georgia; and one grandchild.

A celebration of her life will be held in fall 2021.