Cover photo for Elizabeth (Bette) Bechtel's Obituary
Elizabeth (Bette) Bechtel Profile Photo

Elizabeth (Bette) Bechtel

August 22, 1926 — December 23, 2021

Elizabeth (Bette) Bechtel, 95, passed away December 23, 2021. She was born in Moorestown, N.J. to the late Walter and Margaret Reimet.

Bette attended and graduated high school in Moorestown. She attended Temple University and graduated with a degree (BS) in biology and chemistry. Bette then earned a nursing degree (RN) from the Columbia University School of Nursing. After graduating from Columbia, she worked in public health nursing in Philadelphia until 1955 when she married Dr. H. Bernard Bechtel of Johnstown, PA. While living in Johnstown, she earned her Master’s degree at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

The Bechtel's moved to Valdosta in 1963 where Dr. Bechtel established a dermatology practice and Bette joined what was then Valdosta State College (now Valdosta State University) as an Assistant Professor in Biology. Bette taught classes in general biology, anatomy and physiology, and herpetology. Bette was also acting head of the biology department for a short period of time. She retired from Valdosta State University in 1991.

She developed a passion for snakes, turtles, reptiles, and amphibians becoming a well-known expert in the community. She and her husband were frequently called on to identify and move snakes from construction sites and homes and they would often be found on the side of the road ensuring safe passage for the wandering creatures.

In 1972, Bette was the first woman to be elected to the Valdosta City Council. She was re-elected for a total of six two-year terms and served one of those as Mayor Pro Tem. In keeping with her interest in environmental problems, she wrote and introduced Valdosta’s first tree ordinance which lead to Valdosta being recognized as a “Tree City”. This was enacted into law and has been modified and improved upon over the years, as needed, in keeping with the growth of Valdosta. She continued her service to the area by serving 16 years on the Greater Lowndes County Planning Commission.

Bette was very active in other community affairs. The Symphony Guild was important to her and she served as president from 1999-2000 while supporting the Guild for many years. Her beautiful needlepoint pillows were annually donated to raise money for the Guild. She also volunteered at the Langdale Hospice House and served on the board of the Humane Society of Valdosta/Lowndes County. In addition, supported and volunteered at the Valdosta Boys and Girls Club. She also volunteered to deliver meals for Meals on Wheels. She loved to read to the children at J.L. Lomax Elementary School and during the holidays she could be found in front of a local grocery store singing and ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. In addition, she served on the Brookwood North Association.

Finally, Bette had many hobbies that she enjoyed with others. She was a Rustic Nightclubber and enjoyed knitting and bird watching.

Bette was predeceased by her husband, H. Bernard Bechtel, as well as her sister, M. Jean Shull of Cherry Hill, New Jersey. She is survived by her nephews and nieces: Joe (Pat) Mountain of Ft. Pierce, Florida, Ned (Nancy) Mountain of Sautéed-Nacoochee, Georgia, Debbi (Craig) Marks of Conifer, Colorado, Elliott (Irene) Shull of Elmer, New Jersey, Wendy (Bill) Groot of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, Brian (Ellen) Shull of Durham, North Carolina, and Gary (Erin) Shull of Loveland Ohio as well as numerous grand and great-grand nieces and nephews. She was adored and well loved by friends, family and the Valdosta community alike who will miss her greatly. “Aunt Bette” loved her nieces and nephews as her own, her grand nieces and nephews as grandchildren. Bette’s friendships were a vital part of her life, bringing joy to her each and every day. She was so easy to talk with, was an avid college football fan and loved opening her home to friends and family.

The family will have a private service at a later time. The family would also like to thank South Georgia Medical Center and the Langdale Hospice for their loving care. For those who wish, in lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Langdale Hospice House, the Humane Society of Valdosta/Lowndes County, or the charity of the donor’s choice. Condolences to the family may be conveyed online at Carson McLane Funeral Home

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Elizabeth (Bette) Bechtel, please visit our flower store.


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