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LAURENCE BECHTEL

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LAURENCE BECHTEL Obituary
BECHTEL Laurence J. Bechtel, most gentle, loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, died Sunday, September 30, 2012 at the age of 92. A resident of Jacksonville and a member of Holy Family Catholic Church since 2001, he was born in Utica, New York on Dec 8, 1919. In 1941, a year before his marriage, he went to work for the Navy Department in Washington, D.C. as a lithographer becoming soon after a copper-plate engraver. By hand, he and his fellow engravers cut coastlines, numbered depths and lettered locations. The engraving had to be done to reverse so the charts produced from the engraved plates would properly print. He became a cartographer and in 1956 was aboard navy and coast guard vessels doing hydrographic surveys in the arctic. He was aboard a U.S. Coast Guard ship working east through northern Canadian waters enroute to being the first vessel to complete the fabled Northwest Passage when the U.S. government ordered the ship to turn back. A depression era kid with only a high school diploma he would one day be elevated to the staff of the Oceanographer on the Navy and be sent abroad to NATO and SEATO conferences as an expert on charting. Upon his retirement he was the Hydrographic Program Officer for the Defense Mapping Agency. He is survived by his wife of 70 years Ellen, three sons and a daughter; Brian and Eric Bechtel of Jacksonville, Bruce Bechtel of Port St. Lucie, Lisa Caryotakis of El Dorado Hills, CA, 10 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. He rendered lifelong service to family and community. Words cannot convey his goodness. Only love attaches his memory. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 in the chapel at Hardage-Giddens, The Oaklawn Chapel. Mr. Bechtel's cremated remains will be placed in the niche at the mausoleum in Oaklawn Cemetery. HARDAGE-GIDDENS, THE OAKLAWN CHAPEL, 4801 San Jose Boulevard is serving the family. Please Sign the Guestbook @ Jacksonville.com
Published in the Florida Times-Union on Oct. 7, 2012
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