Gerald (Jerry) Patrick Bechtold, 85, passed away peacefully Monday afternoon surrounded by his family, after a courageous 16 year struggle with Parkinson's, on the 26th anniversary of his Father's Day hole-in-one. All who loved him will remember him by his generous, compassionate spirit, but mostly by his witty jokes, uncanny impressions, unspoiled golf game, and non-competitive nature while playing bridge. He was preceded in death by his brother, Richard Bechtold, who died in the service of his country during WWII, mother, Cathrine Langs (Evans), step-father, Claude Langs, and sister, Rita (Langs) McConnell. After graduating from Cathedral Prep in 1945 as the Captain of the football team, Jerry followed in his brother's footsteps and enlisted in the Navy. Upon discharge, he returned to Erie to raise his family. Jerry started his career at age nine as a paper boy for Erie Times-News which led to a very successful career as a manager of sales. He retired in 1998 as President of North Western Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association (PFMA) to enjoy his time with his loving wife, Barbara. He enjoyed playing golf at Lake Shore Country Club, where he was a member for 19 years, as well as visiting with his dear friends. Jerry was a loyal member of the Erie Maennerchor Club, American Legion Post #773, and the Elks Club Post #67. He leaves to cherish his memory his wife of 30 years, Barbara Geier Bechtold; daughters; Kate Root (Bob), Barbara Scott, Darlene Mandel, Karen Geier Sullivan (Michael); sons; Rick Bechtold, William Geier (Elaine), and Thomas Geier (Lisa); 15 grandchildren; and many friends. Family and friends will be received Thursday, June 13th from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Burton Funeral Home, 3801 West Ridge Rd. A service will be held Friday, June 14th at 11 a.m. at St. Jude's Church, 2801 W. 6th St. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a donation be made to the American Parkinson Disease Association, 135 Parkinson Ave., Staten Island, NY 10305. Send condolences at www.Burtonfuneralhome.com.
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Published in the Erie Times-News on June 12, 2013