ROANOKE - Ronald E. Behnke, 75, of Roanoke passed away and peacefully went to be with his Lord at 1:02 a.m. Sunday, April 6, 2014, in the comfort of his home, with his family by his side.
Ron was born Aug. 29, 1938, in Shelbyville, Ill., the son of Dean and Lavern Behnke. He graduated from Roanoke High School in 1956, where he met his future wife, Sharon Wessel. They were married on June 28, 1959, at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Benson.
He is survived by his wife, Sharon of Roanoke; one daughter, Terri (Rod) Hostetler; and one son, Troy (Jennifer) Behnke, both of Morton. He adored his precious grandchildren, Kayli and Karter Hostetler and Morgan and Madeline Behnke. Also surviving are two brothers, Robert (Karen) Behnke of Lakeview, Ark., and Elmer (Teri) Behnke of Decatur; and one sister, Shirley Bohlander of Roanoke.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Kenneth Behnke and William Behnke; and two sisters, Martha Rinaldo and Joyce Behnke.
Ron served in the U.S. Army from 1960 to 1966. He took his basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and then transferred to Fort Knox, Ky. He was later one of eight local National Guard members selected to train with Green Berets in one of the toughest military schools in the world, the Army's Jungle Warfare Training Center in the Panama Canal Zone. He concluded his service with the rank of staff sergeant.
Following his service, Ron worked at Metamora Woodworking as a floor supervisor and packaging engineer. He retired after 35 dedicated years. In his retirement, Ron worked part time at Roanoke Motors and farmed the family land. He was very passionate of his farm work and very proud of his straight rows, clean fields and mowed ditches.
Ron cherished spending time with his wife, family and friends; traveling; camping; skiing; fishing; dancing; and playing cards. He was an avid lifetime Cardinals fan and was excited to personally see the Cardinals win game 7 of the 2011 World Series. Ron enjoyed watching his kids and grandkids through many of their sports and activities, while always giving encouragement and advice along the way. You could always find Ron at the local restaurant, having his early morning coffee with the guys. His love for singing always filled our homes and touched the hearts of many.
He was a faithful member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Roanoke, serving as a trustee and a proud member of the church choir. He was involved with Roanoke Jaycees and was also an active member of the Roanoke American Legion, serving as sergeant-at-arms for more than 10 years. Ron thoroughly enjoyed preparing his famous French toast at the monthly community legion breakfast.
Ron was a loving, generous and proud husband, dad and grandpa. He will be greatly missed by us all, but remembered in our hearts forever. He fought a courageous battle and won the ultimate prize. Thanks to all who helped in his care.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 12, 2014, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Roanoke. The Rev. Bruce Scarbeary will officiate. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Knapp-Johnson-Harris Funeral Home in Roanoke and one hour prior to the funeral services on Saturday at the church. Burial, with full military rites accorded, will be in Roanoke Township Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to Roanoke American Legion or Trinity Lutheran Church.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.knappjohnsonharris.com.