KBB staff, board and volunteers would like to honor one of our founding members who passed away in October – Georgia Roberta (Bobby) Williams Bechtel. Bobby was a resident of Melbourne, FL since 1952. She was a friend and mentor to many, as well as a loved and respected community leader. Bobby was instrumental in the founding of Keep Brevard Beautiful. Bobby was married for 60 years to Jack Bechtel, MD, and was also the beloved mother of six, grandmother of 13, and great-grandmother of 18. She was a native of Stateburg, SC, and the second youngest in a family one boy and nine girls! She graduated from Sumter High School in 1943 and the University of South Carolina in 1946. Bobby majored in journalism and education. Bobby taught school in Atlanta, GA for two years before the births of her six children. While the children were growing up, Bobby was a very active community member, serving in many capacities, including being a member of Melbourne City Council and the Brevard County School Board.
A celebration of her life was held on Saturday, January 13, at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Melbourne. Donations in her memory made me made to the church or to Keep Brevard Beautiful.
Keep Brevard beautiful will be forever grateful to Bobby for her time and perseverance in starting our organization. In the summer of 1980 Bobby Bechtel spotted an article in Time Magazine that described the successes that Keep America Beautiful was achieving with its Clean Communities System. Local units of KAB were reducing litter in their hometowns by changing people’s attitudes toward cleanliness and beauty generating community pride. A meeting of citizens interested in starting a local chapter of KAB was held at the Chamber with Doc Strawbridge’s encouragement January 21, 1981. It was decided to incorporate as a countywide organization with the initial effort in the Melbourne-Palm Bay area.
Bobby will be sorely missed.