«

»

Oct 18

Tombstone Tuesday–Harold E. & Berneice F. (Becher) Stetler

Harold & Berneice (Becher) Stetler, Riverside Cemetery, Rockford, Dublin Twp, Ohio. (2016 photo by Karen)

Harold & Berneice (Becher) Stetler, Riverside Cemetery, Rockford, Dublin Twp, Ohio. (2016 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Harold E. and Berneice F. (Becher) Stetler, located in Riverside Cemetery, Rockford, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

STETLER

Berneice F.
1915-2008

Harold E.
1914-2008

Married Feb. 15, 1936

Harold Eugene Stetler was born in Van Wert County, Ohio, on 18 June 1914, the son of Roy H. and Blanche O. (Koontz) Stetler.

Harold grew up on a farm near Willshire and his father was a farmer. His father Roy was born in Willshire Township in 1893, the son of George Henry and Clara Jane (Hileman) Stetler. His mother Blanche was born in Ohio, the daughter of C.B. and Hattie J. (Hoblit) Koontz.  Roy and Blanche married 27 November 1913 in Van Wert County, Ohio. It is interesting that they were married by Rev. A.M. Johnson, the same minister who officiated at the marriage of Harold and Berneice 23 years later. [1] [2]

In 1920 the Stetler family lived in Willshire Township and in the household were Roy H, 26; Blanch O, 25, and Harold Eugene, 5. [3]

The family remained in Willshire Township and their household in 1930: Roy, 37; Blanch, 35, Harold, 16. Also living with them were Roy’s divorced sister Annis Weinman, 33, and her son Richard D. Weinman, 4. [4]

Harold Stetler married Berneice Becher on 15 February 1936. They were married by A.M. Johnson of Huntington, Indiana, but they have a Mercer County marriage license and return. Their marriage was not recorded in the Zion Chatt’s records. Berneice was a minor and had her parents’ consent. [2]

Berneice Friedericka Becher was born in Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio, on 26 May 1915, the daughter of William and Katharine (Schaadt) Becher. She was baptized at Zion Chatt on 18 July 1915 with John F. Becher and Mrs. Friedericka Becher as her sponsors. Berneice was confirmed at Zion Chatt on 24 March 1929 by Rev. J.E. Albrecht.

1929 Confirmation class, Zion Lutheran, Chattanooga, OH.

1929 Confirmation class, Zion Lutheran, Chattanooga, OH.

In the photo above Berneice Becher is girl seated on the left side. Those in the 1929 confirmation photo, left to right, seated: Morris Huffman, Berneice Becher, Rev. Albrecht, Pauline McGough, Waldo Brandt. Middle row: John Albrecht, Herb Brandt, Vernon Caffee, Elihu Davison, Werner Becher. Back row: Reginald Fisher, Paul McGough, Charles Strabel, Luther Bollenbacher.

Berneice’s church confirmation record indicates she was born in 1914, but her church baptism record indicates the year was 1915.

In 1940, four years after their marriage, Harold, 25, and Berniece, 24, lived on a farm they rented south of Willshire. They had their only child by this time, their son Ronald, age 2. Also in the household were Harold’s father Roy, 47, and mother, listed as Hattie F. Koontz, age 46. Harold was listed as the head of the household. Harold and his parents had lived in the same house in 1935 but Berniece had lived in Mercer County in 1935. [5] It is likely that Harold and Berneice had moved in with Harold’s parents after their marriage and were living with them.

Harold was a farmer, according to his marriage license and census enumerations. He joined Zion Chatt on 15 April 1945. He had been a member of the Willshire Methodist church.

Harold and Berneice were one of the longest-married couples at our church, married over 70 years.

Harold & Berneice Stetler, 65th wedding Anniversary, 2001.

Harold & Berneice Stetler, 65th wedding Anniversary, 2001, Zion Chatt.

I remember Harold and Berneice very well. They were at church services nearly every Sunday, always with smiles on their faces.  Such a pleasant sweet couple. I don’t know where the nickname came from, but nearly everyone called him Mike.

Harold Stetler died 7 April 2008 at the age of 93 at the Van Wert County Hospital. He was buried on the 11th with Rev. Randall Swanson in charge of the service.

Berneice (Becher) Stetler died less than five months later, on 27 August 2008, at the Laurels of Shane Hill, Rockford. She was also 93 years old. Berneice was the last surviving member of her immediate family.

I was a little surprised when I noticed that Harold and Berniece were not buried in Zion Chatt’s cemetery. When we drove to Riverside Cemetery to get a photo of their tombstone I noticed that they are buried next to Harold’s parents.

Harold & Berneice Stetler buried next to his parents, Roy & Blanch Stetler. (2016 photo by Karen)

Harold & Berneice Stetler buried next to his parents, Roy & Blanch Stetler. (2016 photo by Karen)

 

[1] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 15 Oct 2016), Roy H. Stetler and Blanche O. Koontz, 27 Nov 1913; Van Wert, Ohio, Marriages Vol. 14, p.253; FHL microfilm 1015865.

[2] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 15 Oct 2016), Harold E Stetler and Berneice Becher, 15 Feb 1936; Mercer, Ohio, Marriages Vol. 14, p.301; FHL microfilm 2366955.

[3] 1920 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 146, p.6B, dwelling 131, family 132, Roy H Stettler; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 Oct 2016); from NARA microfilm T625, roll 1446.

[4] 1930 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 24, p.1A, dwelling/family 13, Ray H Stetler; digital im age by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 Oct 2016); from FHL microfilm 2341624, from NARA microfilm T626, roll 1890.

[5] 1940 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 81-28, p.9A, line 39, Harold E. Stetler; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 Oct 2016); from NARA microfilm T627, roll 3163.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>