In Memory of




Obituary for Beatrice Behnke (Gehrke)

Beatrice “Bea” M. Behnke (nee Gehrke)

Born to Guy and Edith (nee Cunningham) Gehrke on December 29th, 1923, in Summit Lake, WI. Bea’s well lived life ended peacefully on June 11th, 2022.

Preceded in death by her loving husband Alvin of 54 years, sister Mary Jane Cumby, brother Roland Gehrke, daughter Judy Wied, son Randy Behnke, grandson Peter Wied and many other relatives.

Bea is further survived by her dear sister, Norma Doering.

Loving Mother of Dennis (Tassy), Gary (Linda), Linda (James) Gigl, Gail (Robert) Gutmann, David (Annette), son-in-law James Wied and daughter-in-law DeAnn Behnke.

Beloved Grandma of Julie (Steve) Reznack, Kimberly Behnke, David Pachowitz, Scott (Lisa) Wied, Michele (Robert) Griffin, Eric (Emily) Behnke, Kelli Behnke, Amy Gigl, Shari (Erik) Molstad, Leah (Tony) Macans, Nathaniel Nelson and Rachel Behnke.

Cherished Great Grandma of Jonathan, Joshua, Kyle, Kaitlin, Kristen, Daniel, Elijah, Perry, Regan, Madeline, Jacob, Eleanor, Ryan, Collin, Ellie, Meghan, Jacob, Chase, Brock, Lilah and Autumn. Great-Great Grandma of Parker and other nieces and nephews.

Raised in Summit Lake, WI and the oldest of four children. She graduated from Elcho High School in 1941. With some coaxing from a friend, Bea decided to move to Milwaukee. She met the love of her life Alvin while attending a grand opening of a bar where he was the musical entertainment. Upon seeing her he took a break from performing to ask her to dance. From that moment he knew she was the “one”. They married in September 1946 in Summit Lake. Al and Bea lived on the southside of Milwaukee while raising their seven children. After building their forever home in Greenfield, she retired from The Heil Company in 1984.

After their children were grown, Al and Bea loved to travel. They went on many wonderful trips with their children and families all over the U.S. and cruised the Caribbean. Bea continued to travel with family members after Al’s passing.

Since 2018, Bea was a resident of St. Camillus Assisted Living. Bea loved socializing with fellow residents and attending exercise classes. She enjoyed working on jigsaw puzzles and was very proud of her accomplishments with her newfound hobby. Bea loved keeping up on current events by reading the daily paper and watching Fox News Channel. She enjoyed watching multiple ministers on Christian television stations.

Sincere appreciation to Cheryl, Simone, Jackie, Iyesha, Jennifer, Harvette, Sierra, Shareka, Alesha, and Kristy for their friendship and wonderful care. Thanks to Ruth, Javier and Bruce for her transportation needs, especially the wonderful conversations along the way and the scenic views of the city.

A memorial gathering will be held at Hartson Funeral Home 11111 W. Janesville Road, Hales Corners, WI on July 7th, 2022, from 5:00 pm to 7:00pm with service to follow. Private burial at Lakeside Cemetery in Summit Lake, WI.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Bea’s memory to the Elcho Historical Society, Inc., PO Box 412, Elcho, WI 54428 or the charity of your choice.