Belvadine Lecher

Memorial services for 98-year old Belvadine Reeves Lecher of Chadron, NE, who died April 13, 2020, will be held Tuesday, July 21, 2020 at 2:00 PM at the First United Methodist Church in Chadron.

Memorials may be given in her memory to Chadron First United Methodist Church, the Dawes County Historical Society, or the organization of your choice.

Online condolences may be made at chamberlainchapel.com.

Chamberlain Funeral Chapel in Chadron is in charge of the services.

Belvadine Reeves was born November 14, 1921, on her parents farm near Plainview, NE, and died peacefully on April 13, 2020, at Heritage Estates in Gering, NE. She was the third child born to Robert Ancil and Myrtle I. (Rodgers) Reeves, of Scotch/Irish and English ancestry.

Belle attended country school in Pierce and Antelope counties until her parents moved to rural Gordon, NE, in 1932. Upon graduating from high school in 1938 as Salutatorian of her class, she received a scholarship to Chadron State College, but because it was depression times and the family could not afford to send her there.

She instead went to work for a local lawyer and when she reached age 18, she was hired by Western Public Service Company (Consumer Public Power, later NPPD) as a Cashier/Bookkeeper and continued with Consumers, moving to the Chadron office.

Belle married Raymond R. Lecher, who was also employed at Consumers Public Power, on June 6, 1943. During her husband’s deployment in the Navy, she spent three months living in Providence, RI, where Ray was stationed at Quonset Point, RI. When he was deployed overseas, she moved back to her parents home in Gordon.

Their oldest daughter, Krissa, was born in the fall of 1944. On Ray’s separation from the service in October of 1945, the family moved to Crawford, NE, where Ray continued his employment with Consumers Public Power. Another daughter, Pamela and son Kim joined the family in 1947 and 1950.

Belle took the position of Receptionist/Cashier/Bookkeeper at the Crawford Hospital, operated by the Lutheran Hospital and Homes Society of Fargo, ND, in 1953 on a part-time basis, but soon moved to full-time. She accepted the position of Hospital Administrator in 1962 after having completed a course in hospital administration from the University of St. Louis, MO.

Ray was transferred to the power plant in Chadron in 1960 and the family moved to Chadron. Belle commuted to Crawford for the next 10 years, also spending 4 months in 1970 at the home office in Fargo. She was offered a hospital administrator’s position in New Mexico, but chose to return to Chadron and take a position with Ross Transfer as a Rate/Auditor, a position she held until she retired in 1988.

Through the years, Belle was active in the Methodist Church, teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir, the Women’s Society and chairing various committees, including the History and Record Committee of the Chadron church for many years.

She became a member of the Dawes County Historical Society after moving to Chadron and served as President and Vice President for several years. She was actively associated with the museum, serving as director from 1991 until resigning in 2008, but continued as research/membership chairman, and an active volunteer until 2017.

She edited the society Newsletter and the Golden Age courier for many years, and was instrumental in the publishing of the Diaries of Billy the Bear Iaeger in 1990, a primary source of information about Chadron and the surrounding area.

Belle was always interested in History and Genealogy research, and was an active member of the Northwest Genealogy Society and the Nebraska Genealogy Society since their inception.

She belonged to the Bristol/Avon Genealogy Society of Bristol, England, and made two trips to England, Scotland and Ireland with her two sisters and two cousins to successfully seek out relatives. She was able to visit the homes of her great-grandparents and made a side trip to Germany. She was the family historian, keeping in touch with each branch of the family.

Belle was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and the VFW Auxiliary, and was active in the Chadron Business and Professional Women’s organization. Her involvement in the American Cancer Society dated back many years and she was a breast cancer survivor of more than 56 years.

Other community service activities include working in Adult Basic Education, Habitat for Humanity, the Chadron Chamber of Commerce Visitors Committee, and Chadron’s Caring and Sharing

Belle received a Community Service Award in 1985 from the Chadron Rotary International Club and the Ak-Sar-Ben Good Neighbor citation in 1994, was named the Chadron Business and Professional Women’s Club Woman of the Year in 1996 and the Chadron Record Citizen of the Year in 2008.

Belle was listed in Who’s Who of American Women” since 2000 and would have been a 50-year active member of DAR in June of 2020. She was also honored in May 2017 for 30 years as a volunteer by the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.

A lover of animals, and especially cats, her home was never without a few strays that seemed to know who would take them in and nurture them.

Belle is survived by her children Krissa (John) Randall of Gering, NE, Pamela (Dan) Hersh of Ord, NE, and Kim Lecher and friend Karen Hansen of Hastings, NE., five grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, many nieces and nephews and a host of friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, three sisters, one brother, her mother-in-law and father-law, and numerous family members.

Chamberlain Funeral Chapel in Chadron is in charge of services.

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