Cover photo for Dr. H. Bernard Bechtel's Obituary
Dr. H. Bernard Bechtel Profile Photo

Dr. H. Bernard Bechtel

October 2, 1922 — July 10, 2009

Dr. H. Bernard Bechtel, of Valdosta, died suddenly on Friday, July 10, 2009 in Gainesville, FL in route to visit family. He was born on October 2, 1922 near the small western Pennsylvania village of New Enterprise. While he was still an infant, the family moved to Johnstown, PA, where his father obtained work in a dairy. He attended public schools in Johnstown, graduating from Johnstown Central High School in 1940, and began to attend the University Pittsburgh Johnstown Center. This was interrupted when he enlisted in the Army Air Force, where he became an aerial gunner. He participated in 30 missions over Germany as a gunner on B-17's.

Following the war he completed his pre-medical studies at Juniata College in Huntington, PA. He received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia in 1950. In his senior year he was elected Alpha Omega Alpha, the national history medical fraternity. Following an internship at Reading General Hospital in Reading, PA, he established a general practice in Johnstown. In 1955 he married Elizabeth Reimet of Moorestown, NJ. In 1956 he accepted a residency in dermatology Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. He practiced dermatology in Johnstown from 1959 until 1963, when he and his wife, Bette, moved to Valdosta, where he practiced until he retired in1997. He was Diplomat in The American Academy of Dermatology.

From a very early age, Dr. Bechtel was an avid student of reptiles and amphibians, and was a herpetologist as well as being a dermatologist, and was actively involved in all three of the national herpetological societies. He published a book and numerous publications, mostly pertaining to his area of expertise in snake genetics, for which he was widely known. Bette was his partner in this and became a recognized herpetologist on her own after their marriage.

Dr. Bechtel is survived by his wife, Bette Bechtel of Valdosta; sister, Alma Mountain of Johnstown, PA; three nephews, Joe Mountain of Fort Pierce, FL, Ned Mountain of Sauteè Nacoochee, GA, and Burger Bechtel (Penrod), of Columbus, OH.

A memorial service will be held at 1 P.M. on Friday, July 24, 2009 in the chapel of Carson McLane Funeral Home. The family will receive friends following the service until 3 P.M. Dr. Bechtel has requested no flowers. Donations may be made to his favorite charity, The National Nature Conservancy, 4245 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 100, Arlington, VA 22203-1606. Condolences to the family may be conveyed on the obituary page at Carson McLane Funeral Home.

Funeral Home:
Carson McLane Funeral Home
2215 North Patterson Street
Valdosta, GA
US 31602

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. H. Bernard Bechtel, please visit our flower store.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

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Friday, July 24, 2009

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