Jeremiah Bechtel, president of the Exchange State Bank, and long identified with
Wakarusa’s business interests, passed away Wednesday forenoon at 11 o’clock at his
home on East Waterford street, after a lingering illness.
As the report of his passing reached us just before going to press, we will print his
obituary next week as his life in commercial circles were such as need special
Funeral services at the home Saturday afternoon at 2:30. Burial at Olive Friends may
view the remains Thursday afternoon, Friday and Saturday up to the time of funeral.
March 26, 1931
Jeremiah Bechtel, 82 years old, for many years a banker and a prominent resident of
Wakarusa, died at eleven o’clock Wednesday forenoon of last week at his home here.
Death was caused by infirmities of age, after an illness of nearly four months. A month
ago he had suffered a light stroke, which hastened his death. He is survived by his wife,
a son, H. S. Bechtel, who is assistant cashier of the Exchange Sate Bank at Wakarusa; a
daughter, Mrs. Homer Roose, of Goshen; three grandchildren, and two brothers, David
and Henry Bechtel, both of Goshen; and a sister, Mrs. Amanda Slabaugh of Nappanee.
Mr. Bechtel was born in Clair county, Pennsylvania, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel
Bechtel, and came to this county with his parents when a child. The family settled in
Harrison township. When he reached the age of 21 he went to Missouri but soon
returned here, and bought a farm in Union township, where he erected a sawmill, which
he operated for 16 years.
On Nov. 23, 1876 he was married to Louisa McDowell. They bought a farm in Union
Township and there established their home. Two children came into the home Harvey S.
born Dec. 5 1882 and Ruth G. born Nov. 29, 1891.
Mr. Bechtel organized the Exchange State Bank of Wakarusa in 1890, and became
widely known throughout the county as a banker. He served two terms as county
commissioner, having been elected on the republican ticket in 1888 and again in 1890.
Since 1892 Mr. Bechtel has been a resident of Wakarusa.
He was very successful as a farmer and mill man. It was during these years that he laid
the foundation for the successful career that has been his. Because he was endowed with
excellent business ability and sound judgment he succeeded notably in the banking
When the Exchange Bank was reorganized he became president and held that office until
death. The Exchange State Bank occupies a handsome new building on the corner of
Waterford and Elkhart streets.
All through the years Mr. Bechtel has identified himself with every progressive and
constructive movement in the community. He was public spirited and lived a
straightforward, upright life In the year 1914 he embraced the Christian faith and became
a member of the Wakarusa Methodist Church.
Cold biography of this kind does not record his life. Many a struggling young man or
farmer, he advised and loaned money to help them carry on. To live meant to him to take
an interest in this busy world. He thought wisely and well. Voiceless though he may be
in flesh, yet he speaks to friends and neighbors – to wife and children, bidding them all to
remember that it is not years or station that marks the successful life, but rather kindness,
charity in judgment and the helping hand in the hour of need. To those who knew him, as
a business associate and friend, the death of Mr. Bechtel comes close. He was, in a
peculiar sense, a man’s man, willing to meet and assume responsibility. His loyalty to
principles and men was unquestioned.
The family desires to express their deepappreciation for all the kind expressions of
sympathy given by the neighbors and friends, and for the beautiful floral offerings
April 2, 1931