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OBITUARY: Darol J. Behnke

Darol J. Behnke, age 84, of Brillion, died on October 16, 2021, at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton. He was born July 27, 1937, son of the late Richard, Sr. and Lillian (Richter) Behnke, and grew up on the family dairy farm near Hilbert. He served in the Army Reserve before marrying Betty Lau, and they had one daughter.

Darol worked for the telecommunication company GTE for over 30 years before retiring, first as a lineman then working his way up into the corporate management team. His retirement didn’t stop him from working: he repaired everything himself and could often be found tinkering, fixing, or modifying anything from clocks to lawn mowers. He even became a bit of an expert at repairing everybody’s golf carts. Throughout his life, his hard-working and giving nature led him to volunteer his time doing construction and maintenance for church, volunteering at Hidden Treasures, and being a member of the Brillion Lions Club. He was more recently part of a group of men that met at “The Barn” several times a week to do woodworking together.

Darol was a man of faith and family. His wife, daughter, and grandsons were his most precious treasures in the world. He often enjoyed camping and road trip adventures with Betty and Faith. After retirement they had a cottage on Long Lake where they could spend time with family and friends, later giving his grandsons a place to fish, ride bikes, and go on pontoon rides. He and Betty spent 20 years as snowbirds in Arizona, fostering long-lasting friendships from across the U.S. and Canada. His thoughtfulness and kind heart made him well-loved by his family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors.

Darol is survived by his daughter, Faith (Frank) Thiel; grandsons: Alex (fiancée Brianna Shoulak) Thiel and Braden (Selena Dickinson) Thiel; sisters-in-law: Ilene Behnke, Ann Behnke, and Donna Lau; and brother-in-law: Harvey Bessert.

Darol was preceded in death by his wife, Betty; his parents: Richard, Sr. and Lillian; Betty’s parents; his siblings: Naomi (Raymond) Harder; John (Anita) Behnke, Allen (Gertrude) Behnke, Richard, Jr. “Buddy” (Ida) Behnke, Waldemar Behnke, Wilmont Behnke, and Paul Behnke; and in-laws from Betty’s family.

A funeral service is set for 11:00am on Thursday, October 21, 2021, at Zion Lutheran Church of Wayside (8378 Cnty W), with Pastor Austen Welter officiating. Friends may call from 9:00am until 11:00am at the church on the day of service. A committal service will take place at the parish cemetery following the funeral ceremony.


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