DALLAS — When Steve Betschart passed away on April 2, 2020, at the age of 71 due to complications in the early days of COVID-19, further public health restrictions never allowed friends and family to pay proper tribute to the popular community member.
Betschart began his teaching career at Dallas High School in 1970 as an intern and continued to teach American history, social studies, psychology and drivers’ education at DHS until his retirement in 2003.
But the first tribute by a large gathering of those closest to Betschart was performed on Memorial Day by his fellow Civil War re-enactors of the Sons of Union Veterans.
Betschart’s love of history was expressed by his dedication to Civil War re-enacting. He was a member of the Northwest Civil War Council, the First Oregon Volunteer Infantry, and the Twentieth Maine living history groups for 31 years. He was also a member of the Sons of Union Veterans, and a brother of the Col. Edward D. Baker Camp No. 6 where he was serving as Junior Vice Commander at the time of his passing. He served two terms as camp commander in 2012 and 2013.
D.H. Shearer, Commander at the Col. Edward D. Baker Camp #6, is also pastor at the Nazarene Church Betschart attended and spoke at his graveside service last year.
“There will be a church service later on at First Nazarene where he was very active,” Shearer said. “This is uniquely ours.”
“We as a group wanted to get together and pay tribute to him. We tried on several occasions, but always got preempted by the governor and new restrictions that would come down. Now, more than a year later, this is our first opportunity to pay tribute to a friend, and a brother, for we are a fraternal organization,” Shearer added.
Shearer read from the original Memorial Day proclamation by Gen. John A. Logan from May 5, 1868. The service also included tribute from a President Abraham Lincoln impersonator, full color guard and 21-gun salute.