Mary Frances Bechtel was born on January 4, 1935 in New Albin, Iowa, the daughter of Peter and Frances (Waters) Whalen. She grew up in the New Albin area, graduated from New Albin High School, and attended vocational school in La Crosse, Wis. for secretarial and accounting training. She married Jerry Bechtel, who died in 1960. On June 17, 1961 she married Thomas Harold Bechtel, Jerry’s brother, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in New Albin. Mary was a busy mother and homemaker, dedicating her life to those she loved. She was a life-long and active member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, a life member of VFW Auxiliary Post 5603 in New Albin where she currently was serving as chaplain, active in 4-H as an advisor and leader, and a member of the homemakers neighborhood club. She took an active and vital interest in her community and was always looking for ways she could help people.
Mary enjoyed bargain shopping and raising her large garden, doing a lot of canning with her grandchildren. She was very proud of her 100% Irish heritage and truly enjoyed her trip to Ireland. Her favorite times were spent visiting and spending time with her family and many friends.
Survivors include her husband Thomas; her children, John of North Dakota, Jerry of New Albin, Sue (Bob Harris) Snell of New Albin, Rose (Bill) Blake of Waukon, Jim (Crystle) of Caledonia, Minn., Paula (Randy) Bolstad of DeSoto, Wis., and Joel (Tina) of Caledonia; her former daughter-in-law, Crystal Bechtel of Eitzen, Minn.; 18 grandchildren, Luke, Kayla, Lee, Amber, Kody, Jade, Zachary, Karli, Madison, Thomas, Jordan, Samantha, Cassaundra, Krisstina, Sierra, Kaitlyn, Mitchell, and Kyle; 5 great-grandchildren; 2 brothers, Ray (Edna) Whalen of New Albin and Dale (Virginia) Whalen of Baltimore, Md.; and many special nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents; her first husband, Jerry; her son Tim; a sister, Rita Imhoff; and 3 brothers, Leo, Earl, and infant brother Merlin Whalen.
Her grandchildren will serve as casketbearers.
Funeral services were held Saturday, August 18, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in New Albin, with Fr. John Moser officiating. Burial was be at St. Joseph’s Cemetery. Friends may call from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Friday at the New Albin Community Center in New Albin where there was a 4:00 p.m. scripture service. Martin Funeral Home of Waukon, Iowa is handling arrangements.
Online condolences may be left at www.martinfunerals.com.