Herbert F. Behnke
Herbert Frederick "Herb" Behnke, age 88 of the Town of Richmond, passed away Sunday, December 8, 2013 in Shawano. Born on September 17, 1925 in the Town of Little River near Lena, he was the tenth child born to the late Reinhold and Julia (Heinz) Behnke. Raised on a dairy farm, Herb learned the value of hard work as well as the joy one can get from hunting and fishing. After graduating from Lena High School in 1943, he furthered his education at the University of WI-Madison, completing a course in cattle breeding. After graduating, Herb was employed at Badger Breeders Coop where he held every marketing position in the company before retiring in 1989 as the Vice President of Marketing for CRI. On May 10, 1975 he was united in marriage to Lenore Giesler at the St. James Lutheran Church in Shawano. Herb's love for hunting and fishing stayed with him throughout his life and he joined many outdoor organizations and was appointed to statewide service by three different governors; the Wolf River Regional Planning Commission by Gov. Nelson and the WI Conservation Commission and WI Natural Resource Board by Gov. Knowles and Gov. Thompson. Herb was the longest serving member on the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board serving for 21 years including four years as Chairman of the Board. In 2009 Herb was inducted into the WI Conservation Hall of Fame. Two years later, Herb and Lenore established the "Herb & Lenore Behnke Scholarship" for Natural Resources students. Herb was a member of the WI Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited, Spooner Musky Club, Shawano Club and Navarino Nature Center where he was on the Board of Directors. Herb was a member of St. James Lutheran Church where he served on several committees and was an usher for many years and for nine years was the Richmond Town Clerk. He had received many awards and recognitions throughout his life some of which included the National Assoc. of Animal Breeders Distinguished Service Award in 1990, Shawano Area Distinguished Citizen of the Year in 2001, WI DNR's Friend of Forestry Award in 2002, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sports Show hall of Fame in 2003, UW Madison College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Distinguished Service Award in 2001, WI Conservation Congress Appreciation Award in 2006, WI Duck Hunters Special Service Award in 2006 and WI Wildlife Federation Conservationist of the Year in 2007. In addition, he was honored and humbled to be listed by Wisconsin Outdoor Journal as one of the Top 20 Conservationists of the 20th Century for the State of Wisconsin.
Herb is survived by: his beloved wife, Lenore; his son, Chrispen (Kelly) Behnke of Rochester, MN; and 2 granddaughters, Julia and Laura. Also survived by: Carol Kilmer of Lena, Mary (Warren) Willauer of Madison, Carl (Kathy) Giesler of Houston, TX and Paul (Jean) Giesler of Sauk City.
Herb was preceded in death by: his parents; and his 9 siblings, Gustav (Ida) Behnke, Minnie (Arthur) Marquardt, Arthur Behnke, Reinhold Behnke, Jr., Agnes (James) Bigford, Pearl Behnke, Ira (Evelyn) Behnke, Alfred Behnke and Gordon (Carol) Behnke. Also preceded in death by: in-laws, Fred and Lillian Giesler; and a nephew, Wayne Behnke.
Memorial services will be held at 11:00am on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at the St. James Lutheran Church in Shawano with the Rev. Ted Andrada officiating. Inurnment will be in the Woodlawn Cemetery. Visitation will be held at the church on Tuesday from 9:00am until the time of the service. In lieu of flowers a memorial fund has been established. Swedberg Funeral Home in Shawano is assisting the family with the arrangements.
The family wishes to thank the ThedaCare Hospice Team 5 and Shawano Medical Center for all of their compassionate care.
Published in Green Bay Press-Gazette on Dec. 11, 2013