Gary H. Bechtel, a long-time resident of Fairfield, died early Tuesday morning, Feb. 2, of coronary heart failure. He was the son of the late Bruce Bechtel Sr. and Grace E. Hill Bechtel. Gary was the brother of Bruce C. Bechtel Jr., who is now deceased, and Ronald Bechtel of Desert Hot Springs, California.
Gary is survived by his wife, Suetta Martin Bechtel, Gettysburg; two daughters, Susan Bechtel Goldstein of Marblehead, Mass., and Linda L. Poulson of Fairfield; and two grandchildren, Bradley J. Poulson of Fort Benning, Ga., and Lyndsey Galley of Fairfield; plus four great-grandchildren.
Gary’s education began at Reading High School. He later attended Millersville State College, where he earned a B.S. in industrial arts education, and Western Maryland College where he earned a master’s degree in media education.
He served in the Pennsylvania National Guard as an armament technician and was discharged with the rank of sergeant.
He taught industrial arts at Fairfield High School from 1957 to 1968 and then worked at the Keystone Cabinet Co. as an administration assistant sales manager and plant manager from 1974 to 1979. Gary was in various administrative positions at Knouse Foods Cooperative. Following Knouse Foods Cooperative, he returned to teaching industrial arts at Fairfield from 1979 to 1996. He retired in June 1996 after 30 years.
He was a member of the Lower Marsh Creek Presbyterian Church, having served as trustee, elder and clerk of session. He was a member of the Fairfield Borough Council from 1965 to 1991 and served as president from 1967 to 1991.
Gary was member of the Adams County Public Library System Board of Directors from 1971 to 1978, having served as president from 1974 to 1976; past member of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Council on Library Development from 1976 to 1984, serving as chairman from 1980 to 1984; past member of the board of directors of United Way of Adams County; member and past president of the Blue Ridge Theatre Guild; member and chairman of the distribution committee of the Adams County Foundation; active for many years in various theater works and productions, including the Gilbert & Sullivan productions presented by Gettysburg Civic Chorus and the Fairfield Lions Variety Shows. He presented living history programs for the Gettysburg National Military Park from 1989 to 2008. He was a former member of Pennsylvania State Educators Association and National Educators Association, PSEA and NEA Retired Teachers Association and former member of the DeMolay Boys of America.
In lieu of flowers, Gary requested donations to the Gary and Suetta Bechtel Fund at the Adams County Community Foundation, P.O. Box 4565, Gettysburg, PA 17325; or Lower Marsh Creek Presbyterian Church Memorial Fund.