Edward Reuben Bechen was born April 10, 1931 in Belvidere, SD to Reuben and Elizabeth (Mader) Bechen. They lived near Kadoka, SD until the family settled on a farm near Artesian, SD. Ed boarded in Mitchell and attended Notre Dame Academy his freshman year of high school. He then attended and graduated from Artesian High School in 1948.
Ed found the love of his life, Joyce Lohse. They were united in marriage on December 1, 1951 at Holy Family Catholic Church in Mitchell SD. Ed enlisted in the US Air Force which took them to Denver, CO and San Antonio, TX where Richard was born. He specialized in training pilots with simulation equipment for the B52 bomber which stationed Ed and his family in Limestone, ME. After Ed was discharged from the USAF, they made their home on the Hollander farm north of Artesian. Soon after, the family welcomed Steven, Deb, and Sharon.
Ed farmed on the original Hollander homestead with his son Richard and grandson Ryan until his retirement and death. He leaves the farm to the 4th and 5th generations to carry on the family tradition of farming. Throughout the years, Ed raised exceptional Angus cattle and took pride in his bountiful crops. He always had a knack for keeping the equipment and vehicles spotless. As the years went by, the hogs and finally the sheep went by the way side. This allowed them to move more cash crops such as grain and alfalfa. Ed was proud of the farm and enjoyed watching his son and grandson take over the family farm. You could always find Ed either driving around the section in the pick-up or putzing around on the 4-wheeler with his side kick, Jazz. If he wasn’t driving around, chances are he was tinkering on something.
Ed was involved with the community as he served several years on the Artesian School Board and the Cenex Board in Woonsocket. He was a member of Holy Spirit Catholic Church, American Legion, Elks Lodge, and Moose Lodge. His love for the fellowship in Moose Lodge 875 and Moose Legion, took him several hundred miles a year to meetings which he enjoyed seeing old friends and making new ones. Ed held several offices including Governor of Lodge 875, regional offices, and obtained the Legion and Fellowship Degrees. He was honored with the Pilgrim Degree on May 22, 2010. This is the Highest Degree Honor and is awarded to very few members across the organization.
Ed is survived by his brothers, Donald of Sandusky, MI and Howard (Mary) of Mitchell, SD. His children and their spouses: 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 and Brent Bechen, Alex and Conner Mayer, and Illa Derynck. And several nieces, nephews, and friends.
Ed was preceded in death by his wife Joyce in October, 2014; parents Reuben and Elizabeth; brother, Russell; sister in-law Marjorie Bechen; niece Christine Mary Bechen; and in-laws Arthur and Hazel Hollander, and Otto Lohse.