Passed away peacefully in Santa Rosa on November 26, 2012 at the age of 53. He is lovingly survived by Valerie Zoe LaMar, his wife and partner for 26 years; his adoring parents Tom and Barbara Behnke; loving sister Celeste Behnke Keith and husband Vernon; sister-in-law Racelle LaMar and brother-in-law Jeff Penner; his nephew Jared LaMar Penner, his god children Kamie and Casey Stack and his father-in-law James W. LaMar, Jr. and mother-in-law, the late LaRue LaMar. A native of Santa Rosa, Tom graduated from Cook Junior High School, Santa Rosa High School, Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State with a BA Degree in Business Administration. While in Jr. and Sr. High School, he was an award winning Drum Major for three years. A professional sound and recording engineer, he helped many musicians get their start. He also served as a Council Member for the annual Etude Club Competition, gifting each participating student entry with a special recording of their performance. A member and Past President of the Santa Rosa Optimist Club, he also served in many other officer positions. For years, he was the main organizer of the Annual Optimist Fishing Derby. Boy Scouts of America was an organization close to his heart. An Eagle Scout, Tom used his leadership skills within the organization to promote the Scout program. He was Scout Master for many years with Cub Scout Pack 4, bringing the joy to scouting to many. He enjoyed camping, fishing and boating. A wonderful cook, he and Valerie loved entertaining family and friends. Tom was the ultimate SF Giants fan. For the past several years, Tom worked as the Rental Manager for the Saturday Afternoon Club, and as a person who could literally fix anything that needed fixing, he was referred to as "Tom Terrific!" If a job was to be done, he would only do it the "right" way, never cutting corners. He will be missed by all whose lives he touched. Friends are invited to attend a "Celebration of Life" gathering on Sunday, December 9, 2012 between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. at the Saturday Afternoon Clubhouse, 430 Tenth Street (between Healdsburg Ave. and Mendocino Ave.), Santa Rosa. Memorial contributions in his honor may be made to the Thomas T. Behnke, II Memorial Fund, 7011 A Erland Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95404. This fund will assist community groups and events in keeping with his personal commitment to help others.
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Published Online in the Press Democrat from Dec. 5 to Dec. 8, 2012