Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Janette Bechtold

December 2, 1931 - February 11, 2022
Phoenix, AZ



Sunday, February 20, 2022
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-8263

Rosary at 7:30 PM

Driving Directions


Monday, February 21, 2022
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EST
Holy Spirit Parish
2230 Lake Michigan Drive NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504


Monday, February 21, 2022
11:00 AM EST
Holy Spirit Parish
2230 Lake Michigan Drive NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Redemption Missions Perpetual Help Society
7401 German Hill Rd.
Baltimore, MD 21222-1347

Salesian Missions
2 Lefevre Lane
New Rochelle, NY 10801-5710

World Apostolate of Fatima-The Blue Army Shrine
PO Box 976
Washington, NJ 07882-0976

Life Story / Obituary


Ever loving, Janette Bechtold was a dedicated wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend to all she encountered. With ways all her own, she added much happiness to the lives of others with her thoughtful demeanor, thankful heart and cheerful outlook. Through Janette’s 90 years, she experienced tremendous loss and triumph, yet with faith as her ever present guide, she held fast to the promises of her God. A woman devout to her Catholic faith, Janette was a selfless soul who served her church and family well. Gone yet never to be forgotten are the treasured memories she leaves behind.

Janette’s story began in the riverfront city of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The daughter of Raymond P. and Lucille (Cubitt) Schafer, Janette Marcile Schafer was born on December 2, 1931. Times were especially difficult during these days as The Great Depression continued to cast a shadow from coast to coast. While prohibition was law of the land, Charlie Chaplin was at the height of fame, the completion of the Empire State Building as well as The Star-Spangled Banner being introduced as our nation’s anthem was certainly a welcome deviation from everyday worries. Janette’s birth brought a sense of hope and promise into the lives of her family.

The Schafer’s made their home at 934 Lamberton NE in Grand Rapids and to support their household, Janette‘s father worked as a city blacksmith and later as an auto mechanic while her mother remained at home as a homemaker. A close-knit family, she was raised with a deep, abiding faith that served her well throughout her life. The Schafer’s were longtime and devout parishioners of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and as an adult, Janette was a member of St. James Catholic Church. Family times were enjoyed getting together with their large, extended family for dinners, games and other special occasions. Janette held close and cherished these treasured memories, especially those of her mother singing around the house, her delicious meals and baked goods, and the many clothes her mother made for her. She would often refer to Janette lovingly as, “my Janette.” Some of her favorite moments during her childhood also included spending time with her father, especially when he was building their sleds, carts and the prized desk he built for her tenth birthday. One of four children, Janette was very close to her little brother, Ray. Sadly, Janette’s sister, Cheryl passed away as an infant and her sister, Marilyn died when Janette was merely six years old.

Multiple pets throughout the years played a significant role in Janette’s life which brought her much love, including Gypsy, Ginger, Twinkle Toes, Koko, Duchess, and Oscar, and she had a story for each and every one of them! Having attended St. Mary’s Parochial School, Janette went on to graduate from Catholic Central High School with the Class of 1948. It was during these years when Janette learned the value of hard work. Besides babysitting during her youth, Janette picked cherries and went to work for a local bakery for a time which afforded her the means to purchase a brand-new bicycle. A young girl of her generation, she enjoyed time spent with friend’s ice skating at John Ball Park in the winter, bicycling to Reed and Bostwick lakes and horseback riding in the months of summer, and more.

In time, Janette landed a job working as a soda jerk at a local drug store where she met the young man who would sweep her off her feet, Bob Bechtold. Bob often came into the store to talk to Janette, as well as her co-worker, Elaine. Truth be told, Bob thought Janette’s name was actually Elaine, so when he set-up a double date with “Elaine,” he was quite surprised when Elaine the co-worker was the one who sat next to him in the car. It was then when he realized the error of ways because he was quite taken with Janette! They began a dating relationship which led to a deep, committed love. Bob worked for Bechtold Brothers Furniture Company and went on to serve during the Korean War. They continued to communicate through much correspondence, and upon his honorable discharge from the service, they were happily married at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on July 3, 1955. The newlyweds honeymooned in Quebec, Canada and northern New York before returning home to Grand Rapids to begin their new life as husband and wife.

Having made their home together at 746 Bristol Avenue NW, Janette and Bob were soon blessed with the love of children in their home. Michael came along in 1958, followed by Valerie in 1960; Marjorie in 1962, and Raymond in 1964. Cheryle was born in 1966, and David completed their family in 1968. Janette made a good, loving home for her family. She enjoyed cooking and was a master at making large, family meals. Although a wonderful cook, Janette loved frequenting Mr. Burger over the years and was fond of their strawberry pie. As a family they enjoyed camping and for two weeks every summer they vacationed and relaxed at “the cottage” in Grand Haven.

Janette was a strict disciplinarian but was loving and attentive towards her children. While her children were young, she remained at home caring for them until they grew older. She certainly had her hands full with six children under her wing in addition to working outside the home. Through the years she held positions in accounting and at Michigan Lithographing. She also spent time employed at Hooker Motor Freight Trucking Company and for Michigan Bell Telephone Company in accounting. For most of her career, 31 years in all, she worked part-time at the Grand Rapids Press which she immensely enjoyed. True to Janette’s nature, she made many dear friends along the way.

In her free time, Janette enjoyed playing ping pong, Setback and Canasta. She served as a Cub Scout Den Mother, was active in C.F.M (Christian Family Movement), and was the program chairwoman for the St. James Altar Society. She was on the board for the PTA at Union High School, and volunteered at H.E.L.P.

Always one to improve her knowledge and skills, Janette attended and completed multiple community education courses. Janette so cherished family photographs, especially of her late relatives.

When Bob passed away, Janette was able to continue her role as mom and friend, but felt his loss deeply. She endured an especially challenging time when her brother and sister-in-law died, and in her words, “No mother should have to bury her children,” when she experienced the loss of her daughter, Cheryle and son, Raymond. In recent years, Janette moved from Grand Rapids to Phoenix, Arizona to be near her daughters.

In all ways, Janette was dedicated to her faith, family and church. Her work ethic was unmatched, and her dedication to her friends was selfless. She was very generous with her time and money, and she never held a grudge as she always saw the good in others. Janette had the gift of gab, one of her most endearing qualities. She loved to talk and laugh and could carry on a conversation endlessly. Even up to the last of her days, Janette was telling her caregivers she loved them. She had a tough life with numerous struggles but she never allowed these to deter her from being the best person she could be. She was grateful and thankful for her life of memories. The pillar of her family, she was a strong but fair force to be reckoned with, a woman filled with devotion and love. For these things and so much more, Janette will be dearly missed and lovingly remembered.

Janette Marcile Bechtold, age 90, formerly of Grand Rapids, MI received her eternal reward on Friday, February 11, 2022, in Phoenix, Arizona. Besides her parents, she was also preceded in death by her husband, Robert M. Bechtold in 2002, with whom she joins the living God in glorious celebration, as well as her daughter, Cheryle Bechtold 2016; son, Raymond Bechtold 2018; granddaughter, Sophia Page; brother, Hubert Ray Schafer and his wife, Sheri; sisters, Cheryl Lamae Schafer and Marilyn Lucille Schafer. She is survived by her children: Michael R. Bechtold, Valerie (Alex) Van Vianen, Marjorie (Andrew) Lundie, and David Page; grandchildren: Amanda (Morgan) Woodmansee, Adam (Christian) Van Vianen, Andrew Van Vianen, Brandon (Melonie) Bechtold, Michael Sturgis, Deanna Sturgis, Hannah Bechtold, Haley Bechtold, Emily (Timothy) VanDrunen; great-grandchildren: Vincent, Evelyn, Gwenevere, Vivienne, Ada, Brandi, Alicia, Brandon Jr., Analia, John Michael, Leena, Diego, Angelino, Daleyza, LeAna, Ava; great great-grandson, Adriano; many dear cousins and friends.

The Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Monday, February 21, 2022, 11:00 AM at Parish of the Holy Spirit, 2230 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504 where friends may gather one hour prior to the service. Friends may also visit with Janette’s family on Sunday, February 20, 2022, 6-8 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504, also where the Rosary will be prayed at 7:30 PM. Burial in Resurrection Cemetery. For those who wish, memorial contributions in Janette’s memory may be directed to Redemption Missions Perpetual Help Society, 7401 German Hill Rd., Baltimore, MD 21222-1347; Salesian Missions, 2 Lefevre Ln, New Rochelle, NY 10801-5710; World Apostolate of Fatima - The Blue Army Shrine, PO Box 976, Washington, NJ 07882-0976. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to share a favorite memory or photo of Janette and to sign her online guest book.