Edward Phillip Bechtholt Edward Phillip Bechtholt, 72, of Gig Harbor, WA, passed away on July 16th suddenly and unexpectedly in his home. He loved to say that he was just Ed, but never Mr. Ed ("I'm no damn horse") or Eddie ("only my mother called me Eddie, and she's dead!"). He was born to Phillip and Ruth Bechtholt on May 1st, 1948, in Tacoma and spent his formative years terrorizing the streets around 40th and Alaska just blocks from Lincoln High School, where he graduated in 1967. After graduation, he enlisted in the Navy and proudly served for 21 years as a "knuckle draggin' torpedoman." Ed was always very proud to be a Vietnam War Era Veteran and generally of his service to the Nation as a Sailor, during periods of significant instability and threats to our national security. He took exceptional pride in helping our Nation overcome our adversaries in the Pacific Basin, and winning the Cold War. He retired as an E-6 because he prioritized being with his family rather than going to sea and getting promoted. After the Navy, he worked at a number of large companies, including Sony and Boeing, applying his extensive electronics expertise in managing production line robotics. Simultaneously he helped run the family ceramics business. He eventually moved back to San Diego and relative retirement, where he became an apartment house owner. He always worked hard at everything he did - usually more than one job at a time, and never complaining. He married Paula Poma in 1971, and they remained together until her death in 2007. They loved each other very much, and Ed deeply mourned her loss, but his sadness was finally broken when he reunited with his high school girlfriend, Patricia Cooper. Their relationship was very important to him, and they spent every single day together, enjoying companionship, food, music, and travel until the day he died. He is survived by his beloved girlfriend Patricia Cooper, his daughters Anita Bechtholt and LynnAnn Rea, his sons-in-law, Hal Griffin, and Joe Rea, his granddaughter Mariah Hemenway and husband Billy Hemenway, his grandson Austin Rea, his great-grandchildren Abel Dunham, Kassidy Dunham, Madrox Hemenway, and Lotus Hemenway, his brother-in-law Frank Pizzo, and many cousins. Ed was a devoted father and husband. He never had much of a life outside of the family. He was always there, telling his girls how much he loved them, how proud he was of their accomplishments, and how smart and pretty they were. He also liked to say they were the reason he didn't need to buy a dishwasher, and that productive members of society don't sleep all day! He was often the caregiver for the girls and Paula, who suffered from Crohn's disease, but never grudgingly, he was always gracious. Ed was known for his sense of humor, friendliness, generosity, and being a caregiver to his friends and family. People would say that he could "talk to a rock," to which he would jokingly add "and get an answer!" He delighted in brightening any stranger's day with one of his goofy facial expressions, off-color jokes, or just a nice chat. He had some health and mobility challenges in the last few years woe be the ones left sitting with him who had to hear the same old jokes and stories, over, and over, and over. "It's easy I'll hold the duck!" In his earlier years, he was active in the Masons and Eastern Star and served as Paula's Worthy Patron for their Eastern Star Chapter in Hawaii. More recently, he was a member of the American Legion, VFW, and the Eagles Club. He was preceded in death by his wife Paula, his brother Robert, and his parents, Phillip and Ruth. Ed will be sorely missed and will be lovingly remembered by all of us. A Visitation will be held on Monday, August 3rd from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm in the Chapelat Haven of Rest Funeral Home.A graveside inurnment service will take place the following day, Tuesday, August 4th at 3:30 pm at Haven of Rest Memorial Park.Family and friends are welcome to participate provided that they observe standard CDC COVID precautions including maintaining social distancing and using masks at all times.
Published in News Tribune (Tacoma) on Jul. 30, 2020.