It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Bo Wiechens, on Friday December 1st, 2023. She was holding her beloved dog Sassy in her arms. Bo was 73 years old.
Bo was born Barbara Jean Toth and was the youngest of four children. Her mother, Marie Carter Toth, owner of St. Charles Fish Market and her father Julius J. Toth Sr. known as “Catfish” was a union iron worker.
She grew up on 2nd Street in the historic Frenchtown district, parallel to the Missouri River. Bo was a third-generation businesswoman who insisted on remaining where her roots ran deep, she resided there for over seven decades.
As a child, she watched her mother conduct business at Marie’s Bait Shop at 1312 N. 2nd Street, Bo’s childhood home. She helped her mother by counting worms and delivering ice and fish. Her mother modeled the independence and determination of a woman capable of owning a successful business in the1950’s. Bo inherited her grit. She also witnessed the power of kindness and generosity firsthand; she was was a chip off the old block.
Bo met her high school sweetheart, Rick Wiechens, while cruising in their matching 1955 Ford Thunderbirds. After graduating from St. Charles High in 1968, she started working in the sporting goods department at Target, specializing in gun sales. She married Rick in 1974, and opened her first business, Dip’ Strip Furniture Refinishing in 1975. Dip’ Strip was in the former Hauenstein & Wright grocery store building at 911 N. 2nd Street. In 1979 she gave birth to her son, Richard Joseph, and her daughter Jamie Marie 13 months later.
She went on to open Bo’s Primitive Peddler at 905 N. 2nd, the former Ralph Brooks Tavern and then Bo and Friends Antiques at 901 N. 2nd, the same building that had once been Stanley V. Pfost Drug Store, where she purchased her first transistor radio as a child. Bo loved buying and selling antiques. She loved the hunt for rare and unusual treasures, all the while making connections with the people she met along the way. Bo had an amazing network of close friends in the antiques community.
Like her mother, Bo’s door was always open for people that needed work or a place to stay. She surrounded herself with unique people - the counter culture of the north end. She had larger-than-life personality and loud, infectious, witchlike cackle of a laugh that drew people into her hand-woven oasis. She appreciated a good conversation and cussed like a sailor. She loved the close-nit Frenchtown community, often making pots of chili and roasts on her bot-bellied wood stove for her employees and friends. She bartered and traded. She loved supporting the local farmer’s market. She believed in the power of a good laugh, lasting friendships, and hard work. She never knew a stranger.
Everyone knew Bo, she was a working mom and a friend you could count on, a Swiss army knife of a-human. Technical yet tender, a social butterfly, brave, soft-hearted, an open book. She was known for her business savvy, outgoing personality, her positive, against the grain nature, her open ears and open arms. She was extremely sentimental, resourceful, inventive, confident and strong.
May her free spirit live on through family and friends. May her old town merchant ways be forever remembered by the people she struck deals with and may the people she helped and gave a home to remember her love. “If there is a will there is a way” “More tomorrow cheaper and better” “It’s not what you know but who you know” were Bo’s mantras. She was truly one of a kind, clearly loved, and will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
Bo is survived by her children, son Richard J. Wiechens and daughter Jamie M. Wiechens and daughter in-love Ann Blakemore; grandchildren Amelia Rose Wiechens, Ashton R. Wiechens, Vivian Rose Wiechens Blakemore, sister Rosemary D. Reutner, and brother Julius J. Toth Jr., nieces Katie Johnson & Betty Young, nephews Lloyd Henry Weitkamp,Eric Toth, friends and family. Preceded in death by her mother and father, sister JoAnn Weitkamp, her former spouse Rick Wiechens and best friend Johnny Robert DeJaynes.
Celebration of Life ceremony will be held at The Academy of the Sacred Heart Shrine, 619 N. 2nd St.Charles, Mo 63301 at 11am on January 21st, 2024. Friends and family are encouraged to speak freely and share stories.
Refreshments will follow at Red Fish Blue Fish, 7 Hawks Nest Plaza St.Charles, Mo 63303.