Helene (Klein) Bechtel was born on April 1, 1913 in the small town of Mauch Chunk. She has lived all 100 of her years in the town now known as Jim Thorpe; growing up on Center Street, just a few blocks from where she currently lives with her son, the Rev. James Bechtel.
Helene is the mother of two sons and two daughters. James, her eldest, is a retired Catholic priest. Her second son, Bob passed away in 2000. Her daughter Sally Christman lives with her family in Vinegrove, Ky., and her youngest daughter, Cathy Hoerner, lives in Schnecksville. Helene also has three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Helene was employed by Bell Telephone of Jim Thorpe until she married Kenneth Bechtel in 1942. He was from Nesquehoning.
"It just caught up with me," says Bechtel of turning 100. "I didn't realize I was that old."
"She keeps very active" said her daughter, Cathy Hoerner. "We go out a couple of days a week, either to Wal-Mart or Giant, she even goes to Atlantic City."
One of the nicest things about turning 100 so far, is that Helene received a birthday card from President Barack Obama.
"I voted for him, but it was a surprise. It made me feel special," said Bechtel. "Michelle signed it too."
So what are Helene and her family doing to mark the occasion of her 100th birthday?
"On my birthday itself, we are going to the Ruth's Chris Steak House at Mohegan Sun for dinner. That's what I want to do," said Bechtel.
"On the 7th the rest of the family will be in town and we are having all of the immediate family to Dom and Ali's restaurant for a dinner party."