Marlene Jo Bechaver, beloved wife, mother, and friend, passed away unexpectedly on February 9, 2023.
Jo was born on June 28, 1955 in Pueblo, CO and grew up in Walsenburg, CO. After graduating from Walsenburg High School, she attended and graduated from Cosmetology School in Pueblo. She started dating the love of her life, Jim “Doc” Bechaver, in 1973, and they married on July 24, 1976. From the time they met they were inseparable. They moved to Evanston, WY in January of 1979, and started working together at Western Veterinary Hospital, Jim as a vet and Jo as a pet groomer. In 1981, they branched out and started the Marlene and Jim Bechaver (M.J.B.) Animal Clinic. She got to work with her best friend and the love of her life almost every single day, spending on average only 1-2 days a year apart. They went on many adventures, including camping, fishing, and hunting trips, vacation trips across the western states, and she even got Jim to go to Disneyland…once.
Along with being an amazing wife, Jo was a very supportive and loving mother to her two sons, Justin and Matthew. She chased both of her boys all over the state of Wyoming and the surrounding states for their football, baseball, and bowling events. She was a passionate sports mom, cheering loudly and rarely missing a game. Due to the amount of time she and Jim spent following the kids, she quickly became a second mom to countless others who still call her mom to this day.
Coming from an Italian family, she loved cooking, and if you left her house hungry it was your own fault. She loved to host parties, the most famous of which was the annual New Year’s Day Ravioli Feast. This party, over 40 years running, started with just a few close friends enjoying homemade raviolis, but eventually grew so large that it was not uncommon to have 75-100 people show up.
Along with being an amazing mother, she was also a very savvy businesswoman. Jo was the CEO of M.J.B. Animal Clinic, running all of the day to day operations that made it the longest running veterinarian practice in Uinta County. In true Jo fashion, she treated all her employees like they were family, many of whom kept in touch with her for years.
Jo also loved embroidery, golfing, getting manicures and pedicures with bright colors, sitting in the gazebo with a fire, playing Candy Crush and Hay Day, spending time with all the animals, and sharing stories with friends and family.
Most of all, Jo loved her grandson, Blake, very much. She was always telling friends and family how handsome and big he was getting. Most recently, the highlight for this sports mom turned sports grandma, was being able to watch him play football this past fall.
Jo was preceded in death by her parents, Martin and Ethel Campagnola, and sister Mary Lou. She is survived by her husband Jim “Doc” Bechaver, two sons Justin (Jennifer) and Matthew, one grandson Blake, and siblings, Marty Campagnola and Marie (Doug) McNichols. She is also survived by her “adopted kids” Jared and Lois Stillion, Cy and Shelly Thorup (and family), along with many more.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Evanston Machine Shop in Evanston, WY on Saturday February 18 at 1pm, followed by a reception; all are welcome. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to youth organizations including the Uinta County 4H program, the Evanston Outlaws, and Youth League at Uinta Lanes.