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Stephen Davison Bechtel, Sr. Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Stephen Davison Bechtel, Sr. passes away in 1989.

Stephen Davison Bechtel, Sr. was an American businessman.

Bechtel was born on September 24th, 1900. He spent most of youth being raised in construction camps as his father traveled around for the family business. As a teenager, he joined construction gangs and worked for his father's company. He would graduate from high school and then enlist in Army during World War I. He would go to France and be assigned to the 20th Engineers where he was a motorcycle messenger.

When Bechtel returned to the United States he attended the University of California at Berkley. He dropped out his junior year to join the family company.

In 1933, Bechtel's father passed away suddenly. At the time, the company was actively participating in the construction of the Hoover Dam. Bechtel was on the executive committee which consisted of the 6 companies that were involved in the construction.

Over the next 30 years Bechtel would run the family company. The Hoover Dam project would be the first of many projects that Bechtel would take on. Many around him would compliment him on his leadership style which many called relaxed. He moved the company into engineering and eventually took the company international.

In 1954, Bechtel was awarded an honorary agricultural degree from the University of California at Berkley. In 1980 the school completed the Bechtel Engineering Center which was named for him.

Bechtel passed away on March 14th, 1989.

Bechtel was a member of Oakland Lodge No. 188, Oakland, California.