The Daily Star
---- — Louise Bechtold
SIDNEY — Louise Bechtold of Sidney died on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, in Oneonta. She was 92.
She was born Louise Regina Siegert in New York City on July 13, 1921, a daughter of the late Paul and Wilhelmina (Bürk) Siegert, immigrants from Austria and Germany. She grew up on Nodine Hill in Yonkers, graduated from Commerce High School in 1939, and married Bert Bechtold in Yonkers on May 30, 1942, a loving partnership that lasted for 66 years until his death in 2008.
She worked at various jobs in Yonkers, including 10 years as a key-punch operator for the Otis Elevator Company. In 1967, she and her husband moved to Unadilla, where they were to live for the next 37 years.
Since 2004, she’d lived at Sidney Senior Village.
She and her husband liked to travel and visited every state but Hawaii. They camped in Alaska, the Northwest Territories, Mexico and Central America, and made several trips to Europe, where they met relatives on both sides of her family.
For 21 years they were winter Texans, living six months of the year in Harlingen, in the Rio Grande Valley, and forming lasting friendships with other snowbirds from northern states. While in Texas, Louise and her husband helped transport food and clothing to needy families in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico, and sponsored the continued schooling of two children from that city, in a country where free education ended at sixth grade.
Louise volunteered as a tutor in the Harlingen schools, teaching children of Mexican immigrants to read, and volunteered in two Harlingen nursing homes.
Locally, she’d worked in the cafeteria at Bendix and was part of the original crew of the Sidney McDonald’s. She volunteered at the New York State Veterans Home in Oxford and at the former extended-care wing of The Hospital in Sidney.
In the 1970s, she and her husband were foster parents to three young children.
She belonged to senior citizens groups in Wells Bridge, Unadilla and Sidney, and the United Presbyterian Church of East Guilford.
She was a resource for family history, passing along anecdotes and memories of the old days, of immigrants her parents had befriended, and of hard times and happy days in the Depression.
All her life she’d loved singing and dancing. She had a beautiful voice. She sang in her church choir until infirmity kept her from climbing to the choir loft. As a schoolgirl she was once put out of choir practice because her exuberant alto voice had led all the sopranos astray. Not being allowed to sing, she said, was the worst possible punishment.
She liked spending time with her friends in the Tri-Town area and corresponding with other friends across the country. Over the years she enjoyed fishing, vegetable gardening, card playing, bingo and visits to casinos.
Having learned to knit as a girl, she took pride in her knitting and crocheting, exhibiting her work at the Otsego County Fair, and making sweaters, blankets, lap robes, and other items to give as gifts. She especially enjoyed teaching others how to knit. Each year she crocheted colorful mittens for every child in the fourth grade class taught by her granddaughter, Kathy, and at the time of her death had finished 12 pairs of mittens for next year’s class.
In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by their beloved daughter, Virginia Louise; her sister, Wilhelmina (Siegert) Florey; and her brother, Paul Siegert.
Survivors include her son and daughter-in-law, Robert Bechtold and Kim L’Heureux; her former daughter-in-law, Mary Jo Bechtold; four grandchildren, Katherine Bechtold, Krista (and Mark) Soss, Eric Bechtold (and fiancée Liwen Chen), and Matt and Annie Bechtold; three great-grandchildren, David Soss, Kaitlyn Soss, and Alyse Bechtold; a brother-in-law, Richard (and Graceann) Bechtold; and many nieces and nephews.
Friends and family will gather for a memorial service, led by Pastor Patty Wolff at the United Presbyterian Church of East Guilford at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014.
Louise had asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in her memory to the United Presbyterian Church of East Guilford, P.O. Box 147, Sidney, NY 13838.
Funeral arrangements by Westcott Funeral Home, Unadilla.