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Barbara Behrend

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Barbara Behrend Obituary
Barbara Behrend

Barbara Behrend, age 92, of Brookings, died Tuesday, November 3, 2015, at the Golden Living Center in Arlington, South Dakota. Memorial services will be 11:00 a.m. Saturday, November 28, 2015, at Ascension Lutheran Church in Brookings, with interment of cremated remains at Hillcrest Cemetery in Estelline. Visitations will be from 5-7 P.M. Friday, November 27, at Eidsness Funeral Home in Brookings. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Hillcrest Cemetery Association at Estelline in her memory.

Barbara Ann Baker was born August 23, 1923, at rural Castlewood, South Dakota, to Raymond E. and Eleanor L. (Jorgenson) Baker. Barbara received her education in Dempster Dist. #1 before moving to the farm west of Estelline where she finished her 7th and 8th grades. She graduated from Estelline High School in 1940, then attended Eastern State Normal School at Madison, South Dakota, for one year where she received her teaching certificate. She taught in rural schools in Hamlin and Deuel Counties until she was married March 5, 1943, to Arthur Behrend. Because she wasn't allowed to teach once she was married, that was the end of her teaching career.

She joined Art in his travels during the service before he went overseas in 1944. They lived in Delaware, Maryland, Long Island, New York, and Connecticut. After Art's service, which included the D Day Invasion in Normandy, and several months on submarine duty in the South Pacific, they lived in Estelline until 1947 when they moved to Brookings.

She was employed at the SDSU cashier's office until 1958 before becoming employed at the Brookings school system as the Middle School secretary in 1963, a position she held until 1993. She also was bookkeeper for Behrend Brothers Masonry Inc. from 1957-1987.

In her spare time she crocheted ponchos, shawls, curtains, dresses, bed spreads, scarves, and one bathing suit plus 238 afghans! She hosted ten family reunions, two rural school reunions, and several Class of 1940 reunions. Barbara was a charter member of the Brookings Hospital Auxiliary, the Brookings Area Genealogy Society, and the Estelline Historical Society. She was a board member of the Brookings Area Historical Society and Museum for 21 years. She was selected South Dakota Genealogist of the Year in 2012 and has gathered over 900 requests from people in the US and Europe for research information on cemetery sites and family information. She was known as the "cemetery lady of Brookings County." When people asked where their families were buried, she made many trips to courthouses and cemeteries. To make her job more efficient, she decided to put all burials on the computer. She visited the courthouses in Brookings, Hamlin, and Deuel Counties, obtained records of burials, and then walked all the cemeteries in those counties, matching death dates and adding birth dates. With help, she searched 40 cemeteries in Brookings County, 32 in Hamlin County, and 30 in Deuel County. She found graves that were not in county records and has recorded burials that are not in cemeteries, but on private land. Each year since beginning the recording process, she added burials to the lists.

Barbara is survived by her sons, Tom Behrend of Brookings and Robert (Winnie) Behrend of Sioux Falls. Her ten grandchildren are Carl Hardzog of Berkley, CA, Leslie Lervang of Grass Valley, CA, Brooks (Lisa) Behrend and Rolfe (Donna) Behrend of Brookings, Paige Gruenig of Farington, Indiana, Brant (Chasity) Behrend of Luverne, MN, Wendy Behrend, Portland, Oregon and Alexandra, Christopher and Ethan Behrend of Sioux Falls. Her ten great-grandchildren are Kyle Behrend, Berkley, CA, Nathan (Stacy), Justin, and Payton Behrend of Brookings, Adam Gruenig of Farington, Ind, Kaitlin, Nicholas and Brock Behrend of Luverne, MN, Kennedy and Jenna Behrend of Brookings. Her three great-great-grandchildren are Drew and Shaelyn, and Emmy Behrend of Brookings. She is also survived by her daughter-in-law, Randi Behrend of Brookings.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Arthur, her children, Patsy and Donald, and her brother, Dale Baker.



Published in The Argus Leader on Nov. 22, 2015
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