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James Behne 04/04/2024

James A. Behne, age 80, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, April 4, 2024, at Regions Hospital, in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Jim was born to Bill and Elsie Behne on November 23, 1943, in Geneva, Illinois and graduated from Cumberland High School in 1962.  Shortly thereafter, Jim met the love of his life, Shirley Fankhauser.  On September 18, 1965, Jim and Shirley eloped at Little Brown Church in the Vale in Nashua, Iowa.

Jim was a man of faith, family and friends.

He was a self-made man that hand built a home to raise his family, worked tirelessly to provide for them and elevated himself with expanding his knowledge throughout his life.  As his family grew so did he, with pride knowing he was doing everything he could to give them a loving safe and nurturing home.  His family knew it, admired him for it and was thankful to have such a caring husband and father.

His love for the outdoors brought him so much joy.  It was there he loved spending time with family and friends creating lasting memories and stories of hunting, fishing, camping and adventures.  The smile on his face while telling or hearing others tell the stories told it all.

While he was a mechanical engineer by profession, he was a train engineer at heart.  He loved the trains and working on his model railroad whether it be by himself or with others that shared the same love.  There too he would make lasting friendships and memories.

His love for God was second to none and brought him so much joy.  It shined through his words, thoughts and deeds.  He enjoyed serving at church, bible studies, the fellowship, the friendships and growing his faith in God knowing one day he would be with Him.

Those that knew him were the lucky ones.  If you needed help, you wouldn’t even need to ask.  Jim was there to offer all he could.

When posed with the question of death he would reply “I have lived a good life”.  To those that knew him he lived a great life , was a great husband, father and friend to all that would let him .  He was counted on, loved and cherished by many and will be terribly missed but fondly remembered.

Jim was greeted in heaven by his parents, Bill & Elsie Behne; his granddaughter, Morgan Behne; brothers-in-law, Ron Johnson and Norm Fankhauser; sister-in-law, Diane Fankhause; and his niece, Stacie Fankhauser.

Jim will be greatly missed by his wife of 58 years Shirley; his children, Darrin (Traci) Behne, Jon (Paula) Behne & Susan (Matt) Coyne;  his grandchildren, Alexandra Behne, Kristen (Lucas Bjur) Behne, Megan (Ben) Cook, Brianna Behne, Cassandra (Paul) Butler, Chance Behne, Daniel and Lucas Coyne; his great grandchildren, Killian and Theodore Cook, Caden  Faulk, Rihanna Garcia and Max and Caleb Butler;  his sister, Patricia Johnson; his brother, Michael (Cheryl) Behne and many other beloved relatives and friends.

Visitation and a celebration of life for Jim was held on Sunday, April 21st at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church (365 West River Drive) New Richmond, Wisconsin.  Visitation started at 1:00PM and the service at 3:00PM.   Arrangements are with Bakken -Young Funeral and Cremation Services.



  • Gloria Schmidt Posted April 6, 2024 10:59 am

    So sorry to hear that Jim passed away. He was a great classmate from Cumberland High School and a great Christian.

  • Becky Gann Posted April 9, 2024 8:50 am

    I was so sorry to hear this Shirley, God bless you and your family.

  • Molly and Adam Perry Posted April 9, 2024 2:57 pm

    What a wonderful man Jim was! We were so blessed to get to know him and have him as a neighbor. The obituary is a beautiful statement of the life he lived prior to joining others in the presence of his eternal home of Heaven. He will be missed by many, may our memories of him be shared and remembered for many years to come. God bless Shirley and the family as they navigate this challenging time through such a great loss. You are loved!
    -Molly and Adam Perry and family

  • Bill Klopp Posted April 9, 2024 6:55 pm

    I have known Jim for years……a long standing member of St. Luke’s who dedicated his life to others with his service. I served on the elder board with him and at men’s group also. He was always there helping. I also had the pleasure of a long friendship outside of church doing fun things together, fishing and model railroading. I think we all need to model ourselves to be a good Christian like Jim was. RIP buddy, I truly miss you

  • Judy Bergsrud (Johnson) Posted April 10, 2024 8:34 am

    I am so sorry to hear about Jim. I was looking forward to seeing him at our 1962 class get together in June.
    He will be missed. Praying for his family during this difficult time.

  • David Benson Posted April 18, 2024 3:40 pm

    I just heard about Jim’s passing. So sorry to hear this. Jim was a great guy always level headed and a great personality. We kept in touch over the years. In 1964 we drove together with a neighbor’s father to visit his son who was stationed at the Naval Base in Memphis, Tennessee. At our class reunions this trip would be relived. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire family. He will truly be missed.

  • Jill Taylor Posted April 19, 2024 5:10 pm

    It sounds like the world has lost a wonderful man. Thinking of you all during this difficult time.

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