Joyce Elaine Bechen was born October 10, 1930 in Sanborn County to Otto and Hazel (Bedford) Lohse. As a young child, she grew up in Floyd Township with her mother and step-father Arthur Hollander. Joyce attended country school and talked about Art taking her in the horse drawn buggy or sleigh to school. She attended and graduated from Forestburg High School in 1948. After high school Joyce worked for Livestock State Bank in Artesian, attended Dakota Wesleyan University, and graduated from a business school in Mitchell, SD.
Joyce married Edward Bechen at Holy Family Catholic Church in Mitchell on December 1, 1951 with Monsignor Brady officiating. Edward joined the Air Force which took them to Denver, CO and San Antonio, TX where Richard was born. Joyce recalled the long car trip from Texas to Limestone, Maine in the heat of the summer. After Edward was discharged from the Air Force while stationed in Maine, they made their home on the Hollander farm north of Artesian, SD. During this time, they welcomed Steven, Deb, and Sharon to the family.
Joyce worked hard on the farm as not only a homemaker, wife, and mother, but also as a tractor driver, rock picker, gate watcher, scoop shoveler, and bottle calf and lamb feeder. She was able to fix most anything with twine string and a lot of determination. Joyce raised a huge garden and taught not only her daughters but her daughter-in-law to can corn, a variety of pickles, and fruits. Every holiday was a feast of food from the meats, mashed potatoes, salads, pickles, cookies, and homemade pies with a place at the table for anyone that happened along at a mealtime. Joyce was known for her fried chicken, potato salad, and baked beans that are hard to match anywhere to this day.
Joyce was involved in the community with an adult community choir, CCD teacher, Artesian High School Band Boosters officer, O.D.O. Club, American Legion Auxiliary officer, and Women of the Moose as a Senior Regent. Her hobbies through the years included bowling; crafts; sewing; flower gardening; baking cakes, cookies, and pies; making fudge and candies; attending her children’s activities; reading, especially Danielle Steele books; watching old western shows and movies; word searches and cross word puzzles; playing solitaire; watching the birds, squirrels, and business of the farm; and petting her cat, Patches.
Joyce took great pride in her family as a cheerleader, confidant, and advisor as she was the “rock” of the family. She enjoyed having her grandchildren visit and was able to meet and hold each of her great-grandchildren. Joyce is survived by her husband of almost 63 years, Edward, Artesian, SD; Children: Richard (Deanna), Artesian, SD; Steven (Kathryn), San Diego, CA; Deb (Tom) Wettlaufer, Winfred, SD; and Sharon (Marc) Hoelscher, Pierre, SD. Grandchildren: Ryan (Kaci) Bechen; Desirae (Justin) Mayer; Michelle (Jerad Tuff) Wettlaufer; Greg Wettlaufer; Andrea (Ben) Derynck; Megan Wettlaufer; Cole Hoelscher; and Aaron Hoelscher. Great-Grandchildren: Abby Bechen; Alex Mayer; Conner Mayer; and Illa Derynck; and her beloved cat, Patches.