Josef Foch "Chris" Bikle, 94, of Old National Pike in Boonsboro, Md., passed away Tuesday, March 12, 2013, at the Village at Robinwood in Hagerstown, Md.
Born Sept. 4, 1918, at the family home in the Greensburg area of Smithsburg, Md., he was the son of the late Christian Immanuel and Anna Mabel Honodel Bikle.
Josef was a 1936 graduate of Smithsburg High School and also graduated from Eastern University's Maryland School of Accounting in Baltimore.
During World War II, Josef served in the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 18th Regiment, First Infantry Division. He fought in two D-Day invasions, one in Sicily and the other at Omaha Beach, Normandy, France. He also saw combat duty in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the former Czechoslovakia. Josef was awarded numerous medals and ribbons for his service during the war. In later years, he shared and documented his wartime experiences by participating in the Veterans History Project, which is sponsored by the Library of Congress.
In his early years, Josef helped his parents on their Smithsburg fruit farm as well as at their store, Bikle's Fruits and Groceries on East Washington Street in Hagerstown. He also enjoyed helping with their stand at City Market. After his marriage to Nancy and moving to Boonsboro, he worked at Bast Furniture Store and Bast Funeral Home until he started his career with the State of Maryland's Department of Employment Security as a field auditor in Washington, Frederick and Carroll counties, retiring in 1978.
Josef was a longtime member of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Boonsboro, where he was a member of the Chancel Choir for many years. He was also active on the church council and in other capacities. He served on the Boonsboro Cemetery Board. He was a life member and past commander of Clopper-Michael American Legion Post 10 in Boonsboro, a member of the McClellan Gun Club and a founding member of the original Boonsboro Ambulance Club. With a lifelong passion for coin collecting, he was also a former member of the Interstate Coin Club. In his early years, he enjoyed both the piano and the organ, having played in several area churches.
Josef is survived by two sons, Mark A. Bikle and his wife, Marie, and Thomas E. Bikle and his wife, Lisha, both of Boonsboro; and two grandsons, Matthew C. Bikle of Hagerstown and Joshua R. Bikle of Boonsboro.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy Jane Bast Bikle, on March 19, 2009. They were married March 25, 1946. Also preceding him in death were his sister, Mary Catherine Bikle, on Aug. 28, 1917; and his brother, Austin H. Bikle, on Aug. 27, 1990.
A funeral service will be Sunday, March 17, 2013, at 2 p.m. at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, 64 S. Main St., Boonsboro. The Rev. Joseph I. Donovan III will officiate. Entombment will follow in the mausoleum at Boonsboro Cemetery, with final resting ceremonies by his pastor and the honor guard of Clopper-Michael American Legion Post 10.
The family will receive friends Saturday, March 16, 2013, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at Bast-Stauffer Funeral Home, 7606 Old National Pike, Boonsboro. For the convenience of family and friends, the funeral home will be open Saturday after 9 a.m. The family will also receive friends Sunday one hour before the service at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Josef's name to Memorial Fund of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, 64 S. Main St., Boonsboro, MD 21713.
Expressions of sympathy for the family may be made at www.baststaufferfuneralhome.com.