Bertha Mae Blechle, 94, of Chester, Illinois, passed away at 1:23 a.m. on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at the Independence Care Center, Perryville, Missouri.
She was born to the late August and Anna (nee Jany) Marcinkowska on Jan. 19, 1928 in Chester, Illinois.
Bertha Mae married James C. "Jimmy" Blechle on June 25, 1949 in Chester, Illinois; he preceded her in death on Aug. 24, 2004.
Bertha Mae was a lifelong member of St. Mary's Catholic Church, the Postmistress for Menard Correctional Center for many years, a tireless worker for the Knights of Columbus and V.F.W. Auxiliary, a member of St. Mary's Council of Catholic Women (Blessed Virgin Mary Sodality), and a member of the Piecemakers quilting organization.
She was active in many Chester civic activities, such as working many hours making the Cohen House the beautiful home it is today. In 1975, she was honored as Chester Citizen of the Year. She was part of the committee that started the Popeye Picnic, and was very active every year thereafter making the picnic a great success. Years later, she was honored for this work by being one of the Popeye Parade marshals.
She also served as a Chester Chamber of Commerce director. Bertha Mae was one of the founders of Christmas on the River. In later years, the founders were honored when Chester's annual Christmas Concert was dedicated to them for their work on this event.
Bertha Mae was well known throughout her hometown as a "doer." She was dedicated and committed to her church and her community and was never too busy to take on a new project or to see another one through to fruition. She was also known as a cook extraordinaire and was happiest when she was in the kitchen and visiting with her many family members and friends.
Bertha Mae is survived by her son, Larry Joseph Blechle (Virginia Petrowske) of Chester; her sister, Betty Rose Prost of Belleville, Illinois; two granddaughters, Casey (Jarrod) Peters and Haley (Dane) Williams, both of Chester; and five great-grandchildren, Hannah, Trayton, Emerson, Nora Mae and Saige.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of 55 years, James C. "Jimmy" Blechle; three sisters, Verona, Florence and Anna Marie; and four brothers, Bud, Bob, Charlie and Roger.
Her funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at Pechacek Funeral Home in Chester, officiated by Father Steven Pautler.
Interment will be at St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Chester, Illinois.
Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Monday, May 23 and from 7:30 to 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 24 at the funeral home.
Memorials in Bertha Mae's name are suggested to St. Mary's Catholic School in Chester.
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