In the middle of the Great Depression, Francis (Frank) Fecht encountered a beautiful farm girl in rural Missouri. According to her sister in law Mildred Fecht, "It was love at first sight!" The young woman, Althea Luella Erdel, married Frank on the 14th of May, 1915 in the Roman Catholic Church rectory in Westphalia, Missouri.
Althea Erdel attended Prairie Lea School, with several of her family members and Candy Reeder. The school was located five miles northeast of Mexico, Missouri in Audrain County.
Francis and Althea had two children. They are: Larry Wayne Fecht and Jo Ann Fecht Nordlund.
The following is her obituary from the Mexico (Missouri) Ledger:
Althea L. Fecht
Althea L. Fecht, 93 of Mexico, died Thursday, Sept. 11, 2008 at Audrain Medical Center.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at Arnold Funeral Home. Burial will follow at St. Brendan Cemetery (on the outskirts of Mexico, Missouri) Visitation will be Monday from 9 until time of service at the funeral home.
(Jerry Fecht's note: Saint Brendan Cemetery is the burial site of Margaret (Bost) Fecht, our ancestor grandmother who began our family in America. Many other Fecht family members, including Althea's husband, Frank Fecht are buried at this site.)
She was born on May 14, 1915 in Audrain County, the daughter of Harry and Annie (Doerge) Erdel. On Oct. 10, 1934 she married Frank C. Fecht in Westphalia. He preceded her in death on Jan. 24, 1974.
Althea had worked at St. Brendan School cafeteria for a number of years and also volunteered at Audrain Medical Center.
(Her) survivors include her son, Larry Fecht, and wife, Joan, of Mexico; a daughter, Jo Ann Nordlund and husband, Stan, of Palmyra, Virginia.; five grandchildren, Vicki Wilson of Virginia, Carrie Sheldon of Pennsylvania, Steve Nordlund of Oregon, Andy Fecht of Mexico and Lisa Fecht of Mexico. She is also survived by seven great-grandchildren; a sister, Vallie Ann Coil and husband, Bernard, of Mexico; and a sister-in-law, Julia Erdel, of Mexico.
In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by seven brothers and sisters, Emil Erdel, Dorothy Ruse, Mary Schutte, Eddie Erdel, Wesley Erdel, Leo Erdel and Harold Erdel.
Memorials may be made to St. Brendan Church or Audrain Medical Center.
Condolences at www.arnoldfh.com
A message from Genevieve Rebbe, Althea's niece - Washington State
"I am glad we visited her while she was still in her home where she and Uncle Frank lived for so many years. She stayed so spry into her old years. She told me it was because she walked every day. I asked her about the grape harbor in the back yard that I remembered as a child when she and my mom made grape jelly. I will miss getting her Christmas cards in reply to mine and will cherish the time we had with her
Love from her niece Genevieve
A message from Jo Ann, Althea's daughter:
"Mom passed away last night 9/11 at l0:00 p.m.. Her funeral will be Monday in Mexico with Arnold Funeral home. She had been admitted to the hospital in the morning. After watching her favorite St. Louis Cardinals with Larry she passed in her sleep."
A note from Jerry Fecht, Althea's nephew - California
Aunt Althea was the last of the children and in-law children of William Thomas Fecht and Elizabeth Ann Walsh Fecht. She was a most impressive, self educated woman. Generally quiet, when I knew her in the late 1940s, she was the youngest of my aunts in a family of opinionated older Irish and German womenfolk. I loved her.
Althea kept many of her farm ways, despite living most of her adult life in the town of Mexico, Missouri. Her garden was a marvel, with always some delicious morsel for her nephew. She worked hard, and walked every day to keep up the energy she needed to care for her family and those in the community who needed her help.
When I was five years old, I sassed her while she was watching over me near the Audrain Country Courthouse. She gave me an impressive swat and said, "Now, this won't have to happen again!" It didn't."
A note from Dan Sullivan - Nebraska
"I'm sorry to hear of Althea's passing. That's the end of a generation, I believe. I'll always consider them the greatest.
I remember Aunt Althea as a sweet, caring individual who could talk about
life with a child in ways that were understanding."