Roger Brian Bechtold ’78
July 29, 1960 – October 28, 2020
Roger Brian Bechtold died on October 28, 2020, in the St. Cloud Hospital. Roger belonged to Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church in Rockville and will be buried at St. James in Jacobs Prairie. A memorial service for Roger and his brother Gregory will be held when their whole family can attend.
Roger was born on July 29, 1960, in St. Cloud, Minnesota, to Jerry and LeMay Wagner Bechtold. He attended St. Boniface Grade School, Rocori Junior High, St. John’s Prep School, the University of Minnesota, and St. John’s University, where he earned a BS in Chemistry.
Roger grew up on the family farm in Rockville and joined his parents in running the Kipland Vale farm after college. Roger had the soul of a true farmer, nurturing the crops and stewarding the land, caring for the calves and cows (and dogs and cats) with gentleness and compassion, consistently maintaining buildings and equipment, and calmly managing the farm operations. He will be remembered for being an intelligent, honest, hardworking, and responsible steward of the land.
Roger dedicated his life to dairy farming, herd management, improving soils, and careful crop rotation for better production to improve farming methods for Kipland Vale and the whole farming community. This included serving on the New Vision Alliance Board for 11 years, on the Cold Spring Coop Creamery Board for 12 years, and as a Land o’ Lakes Leadership Council member and unit delegate from 1997-present.
Roger enjoyed visiting with associates connected with the farm, the farm workers, and neighbors, He helped neighbors care for their animals and farms and advised everyone who asked for help.
He enjoyed reading, cheering for the Twins and Vikings, following high school sports, and playing 500. He especially treasured having his nieces and nephews on the farm, helping with farm work and playing lively games of 500 over the years.
Roger is survived by his mother LeMay; sisters, Karen (Bernie Koltes), Brigid, Barbara (John Tomaro), Mary Ruth, and Joyce, his brothers, Stephen, Mark, and Timothy (Karen Knudsen); 19 nieces and nephews, Patrick, Brian, James, Shawn, Heidi, and Holly Koltes; Londi, Mark, Samuel, and Alicia Tomaro; Teresa, Thomas, Paul, and Joseph Bechtold; Shane, Cole, and Sage Christianson; and Stellan and Bente Bechtold.
He was preceded in death by his father in 2013; his brothers Michael in 1973 and Gregory on Easter Sunday, 2020. His grandparents were Albert and Clara Weyer Bechtold of St. Joseph, Minnesota, and Thomas and Margarette Jackins Wagner of Nashua, Montana.
Roger will be deeply missed by his family, friends, relatives, and neighbors. He will also be missed by all the farm workers and delivery and service people who became regulars on the farm. Roger appreciated working with them and appreciated their contributions to the farm. He is especially grateful for all the help with the crops and farm work during this summer and harvest when cancer caught him so suddenly.
Roger will be remembered as a kind and generous person with a gentle spirit. He always took time for everyone and cared about them deeply. His nieces and nephews say he was the best role model they ever had.