Ellen Regina Bechtel

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Ellen Regina Bechtel

Ellen Regina Bechtel, granddaughter of longtime Malibu resident Patricia Kenney, died May 24. She was 14.

Bechtel was a preschool student at the Carden School of Malibu when she was diagnosed at age 5 with a malignant brain tumor. She had more than 38 surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Bechtel lived many years beyond what was expected, and family members said she touched countless lives through a testimony of faith and love through all her trials.

Bechtel attended Webster Elementary School before moving with her family to Newbury Park. In January 2003, she suffered a stroke that kept her in the hospital for three months. She learned to walk and talk again, laughing, smiling and pressing her way through recovery. A new tumor was discovered in December 2003. After it was removed and found to be malignant, Bechtel expressed a strong wish to not be treated aggressively again. She told doctors at UCLA, “I just want to rest in peace forever.”

Bechtel died at home in her own room with family surrounding her bed. She is survived by her father, James Robert Bechtel, her mother and stepfather, TeĆ­ne and Patrick Kenney, and her siblings, Claire, Fiona and Sean.

A memorial service will take place at the Lighthouse Christian Fellowship, located at 3353 Old Conejo Road in Newbury Park, on Saturday at 12 p.m.