TUSCOLA – Charles Junior Bechtel, 93, of Tuscola joined his bride of 65 years in heaven on Tuesday (Jan. 31, 2012).
Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. today (Thursday, Feb. 2) at Hilligoss Shrader Funeral Home, 705 S. Main St., Tuscola, with Masonic Services at 8 p.m. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 3, at the Tuscola United Methodist Church, 901 N. Prairie St., Tuscola. Burial with military graveside rites accorded will be in Tuscola Township Cemetery.
He was born on March 24, 1918, in Taylorville, the son of Charles and Bertha (Peters) Bechtel. He married Frances Eagan on March 23, 1941, after they eloped to Farmington, Mo. She preceded him in death on Dec. 12, 2006.
He is survived by five children, Dennis (Barb) Bechtel of Peoria, Dottie (James Fleniken) Browning of Spring, Texas; Scott (Lisa) Bechtel of Champaign, Susan Hall of Tuscola and Jeff (Terri) Bechtel of Peoria; 11 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, four sisters and two sons, John and Sam.
Charles graduated from Taylorville High School in 1937. He was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army in Co H 123rd Infantry. He served during World War II in the Southern Philippines and New Guinea, where he received two bronze stars, combat infantry badge and a good conduct medal. Upon his return from the war, he worked for Petrolane until his retirement in May 1982. Charles was a member of the Masonic Mound Lodge 122 AF & AM in Taylorville. He was a member of the Tuscola United Methodist Church.
He was a father to many, and the first to help when someone was in need. Charles loved camping with his family and many trips in their motor home. Every year for 50 years his military friends met at Army reunions to renew their bond they created when they were overseas.
He and Fran loved to entertain at their kitchen table, where all were welcome. He enjoyed working outside in his yard and around the house. He loved to watch the Illini and do woodworking.
Memorials may be made to SAM Food Pantry, Help-A-Child or the Douglas County Museum Association.
Condolences may be offered online at www.hilligossshraderfh.com.