Leavenworth Catholic School Foundation recently honored Earl and Peggy Bechtold for their work in promoting scholarships to students attending Xavier Catholic School. The honor was extended at the Night of Faith and Hope Celebration on Feb. 22 in Leavenworth, Kansas.
Earl and Peggy are the parents of four children: Chip, Mara, Mark and Megan, all graduates of Xavier Catholic School.
Earl was born and raised in Pittston. He is the son of the late Oscar and Sophie Bechtold.
As a youngster, he played baseball representing Pittston as a member of the 1955 Little League team that took third place in the state tournament in Williamsport.
Earl played football and baseball in high school and went on to graduate from Pittston High School as president of the class of 1960. He attended the University of Scranton, participating in the ROTC Officer’s Training Program, and upon graduation, was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army. He attended the Command and Staff College in Leavenworth, Kansas, as well as serving in the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Germany, Korea and other posts in the United States. He retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel after 23 years of service to our country.
Earl earned a master’s degree from Duquesne University and upon retiring from the Army went to work for Northrop Grumman in military computer simulations.
Peggy also was born and raised in Pittston. She is the daughter of the late Edward and Margaret Bilbow.
Peggy graduated from St. John the Evangelist High School, Class of 1961. She attended Misericordia University on an academic scholarship and received her master’s degree from Duquesne University. Peggy taught school for 36 years in Germany and the United States, retiring as a reading specialist for the Leavenworth Public School System in 2010.
Peggy comes from a long line of educators. Her great aunt, Fanny Bilbow, taught in a one-room school house in Browntown; her mother taught science in Hughstown, Duryea and Pittston Area high schools and went on to become principal of Pittston Area High School. Peggy’s sisters, Sheila and Patrice, also worked in education. Peggy and Earl’s daughters followed in their footsteps. Mara taught school in Kansas and in Austin, Texas. Megan was on the faculty at Creighton University and the University of Nebraska, serving as an assistant coach of the women’s soccer team. Peggy’s cousin, Patrick Bilbow, is principal of Pittston Area Middle School. Her cousin, Kathleen Bellas, taught school at Pittston Area and Kathleen’s daughter, Gina, is currently teaching fourth grade at Pittston Area.
For scholarship information, visit www.leavenworthcatholicschools.org/give/ignite-the-green-and-white.