Ruth O. Behnke, 97, Oconto Falls, died Tuesday afternoon, February 20, 2018. She was born in the Town of Stiles to Ole and May (Erickson) Fredrickson. Ruth grew up on the family farm, graduating from Lena High School with the class of 1938. She graduated from Marinette County Normal in 1942 earning her teaching certificate and in 1966 earned her bachelors degree in elementary education at UW-Oshkosh. Ruth taught school for 31 years, first in rural schools, then Lena Grade School and Jefferson Elementary in Oconto Falls, retiring in 1986.
On August 23, 1947 she married Lloyd Behnke and the couple resided in Oconto Falls. Along with her husband, they enjoyed camping and traveling the United States, Norway and Canada. She also enjoyed quilting, growing things and was an avid gardener. Ruth was a long time member of Grace Lutheran Church where she served as past superintendent and teacher of Sunday School, Vacation Bible School coordinator and officer of the WELCA (women’s bible study). She served as an officer of the Retired Teachers Association, NORTA, AARP and the Oconto Falls Women’s Club. In the past, she was also active in the Community Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, the Friends of the Library and Friends of the Arts in Oconto Falls.
Survivors are her two daughters, Barbara (Thomas) Herald, Green Bay; Donna (Willie) Fabry, Oconto Falls; nine grandchildren, who she loved and enjoyed, Brian, Katie and Mike Herald; Jennifer (Jason) Reis, Cheryl (Mitchell) Ellwanger, Brenda Fabry, Melissa (Adam) Calewarts, Kim (Joe) St. Louis and John Fabry; six great grandchildren, Taylor and Easton Reis, Logan, Wyatt and Stella Ellwanger, Parker St. Louis; one brother-in-law and sisters-in-law, Floyd (Charmaine) Behnke, Lena; Shirley Fredrickson, Plymouth; nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by Lloyd, her husband of 69 years, on September 24, 2016, two sisters Ethel (Robert) Christopherson and Anne (John) McClure and one brother Alan Fredrickson.
Visitation will be held after 9am Thursday, March 1, 2018 at Grace Lutheran Church in Oconto Falls until the time of service. Funeral services will be held 11am Thursday at the church with Pastor Gary R. Olson officiating. Burial will follow in Woodlawn Cemetery, Oconto Falls.
Special thank you to the staff of Atrium Post Acute Care and Unity Hospice for their kindness and support.