FREDERICKTOWN — Harold E. Bechtel, 94, of Mishey Road, Fredericktown, died Tuesday, June 2, 2009, at his residence.
He was born May 13, 1915, in Berlin Township, Knox County, to Alva and Zella (Leedy) Bechtel and spent his lifetime in the Ankenytown and North Liberty area north of Fredericktown where he attended Morgan School then maintained the family farm. He was drafted into the Army on Dec. 10, 1941, three days after Pearl Harbor, and participated in the invasions of North Africa, Sicily and Normandy as a Forward Observer with the 7th Field Artillery Battalion assigned to the 1st Infantry Division. For his service Harold was awarded a Silver Star in Sicily; a Bronze Star, European-African-Middle Eastern Medal with three Battle Stars; Bronze Arrowhead; French Croix de Guerre; and the Distinguished Unit Citation with Cluster. Harold earned battlefield commissions from staff sergeant to second lieutenant and then to first lieutenant. Following the war he returned to Knox County and married his wife, the former Genevieve Butcher, on Sept. 1, 1946 at the Brandon United Methodist Church.
Harold served as a Pike Township Trustee for 25 years and had served as a supervisor for the Knox Soil & Water Conservation District. He was an active member of the North Liberty United Methodist Church, member of the Knox County Farm Bureau, and the Knox County Trustees and Clerks Association. Harold was also a life member of the Future Farmers of America and a member of the American Jersey Cattle Club.
Surviving are his wife of 62 years, Genevieve (Butcher) Bechtel; his sons and daughters-in-law, Larry and Penny Bechtel, Steve and Vicki Bechtel and Curt Bechtel, all of Fredericktown; seven grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and his sisters, Edith Alexander of Tennessee and Erma Roberts of Fredericktown.
Besides his parents, Harold was preceded in death by his son, Dennis Bechtel; his brothers, Eldon Bechtel and Howard Bechtel; and a sister, Arlene Kunkel.
Friends may call Thursday from 1 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at the Snyder Funeral Home in Fredericktown. Funeral service will be Friday at 10 a.m. at the North Liberty United Methodist Church, with the Revs. Sonja Bender, Allen Rose and Ken Kinley officiating. Burial, with military honors by the Knox County Joint Veterans Council, will follow in the Owl Creek Cemetery at Ankenytown.
Memorial contributions can be made to North Liberty United Methodist Church, 20961 North Liberty Road, Butler, OH 44822; or the Fredericktown EMS, 139 Columbus Road, Fredericktown, OH 43019.
To send an online condolence to the family, visit www.snyderfuneralhomes.com.
The Snyder Funeral Home in Fredericktown is honored to serve the family of Harold E. Bechtel.