Denver R. Behm, age 89, a month shy of his 90th birthday passed from this earthly life to eternal life on February 26th, 2023. He was with his wife and took his last breath peacefully holding her hand.
He was born on March 30, 1933, to the late Albert and Emily (Haldemann) in Neenah. Denver began elementary at Clayton Center, a rural one room school until the sixth grade when he then attended Trinity Lutheran School in Neenah to receive parochial training for Confirmation. After graduating from Neenah High School in 1951, he worked on the family farm until he was drafted into the army in 1953. He served active duty in Korea on the DMZ ZONE as a Private First Class, 31st Infantry Company M. He received a Korean Service Ribbon, a United Nations Service Medal, and a National Defense Service Medal. Denver was also awarded a Bronze Service star for serving with valor, bravery and acts of courage in active combat. After being honorably discharged he returned to the USA, finding his own way home from California after being dropped off after a 10-day ocean voyage. There was no welcome home committee and help for him as a war veteran. He did have closure with an Old Glory Honor Flight, where he finally received the honor, respect, and welcome home he earned and deserved more than 50 years earlier.
On June 8,1957 Denver was united in marriage with Vivian (Schultz). The year before they wed was spent designing and building a home in the Town of Clayton in which they would live for 65 years. The Lord blessed them with 65+ years of marriage and 3 children. Denver enjoyed the outdoors, caring for the land as a farmer, environmentalist, and hunter. He bagged deer, foxes, rabbits, pheasants, squirrels, and later even wild turkeys. He usually had a hunting dog by his side.
Denver spent the next 50 + years as a carpenter, mainly building residential homes, before retiring. He was well-respected throughout the greater Neenah area from the 1960’s until his retirement. The respect with which his name was said stands out clearly to local residents. Denver Behm’s positive, productive contributions to the community will be experienced for generations. He also worked with Kevin Bayer as a finish carpenter on Parade of Homes buildings. He also gave his time building equipment like a playground ball rack for Martin Luther Grade School and other projects for the church. At Immanuel Lutheran he built a 9-foot cross (among many other things) which is used in worship until this day. He also helped remodel the parsonage. He used his carpentry skills designing and building furniture along with other projects for the family and others. He even made wagon wheels in the winter by hand, why, because he started restoring wheels but then decided to make them completely by himself. He had a local craftsman get the mental bands forged for the finishing touch on the wheels. The legacy he leaves is astounding.
Over the years he planted some 8,000 trees in his Fremont woods, replanting many by hand that didn't make it during dry times. Many years before the passing of his parents in 1997 he also took over and managed the 100-acre family farm nearby. He created a wildlife sanctuary, planting 1,500 shrubs and prairie grass for sheltering animals. He was a good steward of all the gifts God gave him. He knew and loved the land and taught any in his presence its value and care.
Denver will be greatly missed by his wife, Vivian, his children; Jeffrey (Becki) Behm of Neenah; Janelle (Jeff) Baldwin of Fond Du Lac; Jay (Jamie) Behm of Wisconsin Rapids; grandchildren: Star, George, Abigail, Dusty, Ella, Alex, Emma, and Sarah. Great grandchildren: Roman, Selena and Jackson. Along with nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends. In addition to his parents, Denver was preceded in death by a brother and sister-in-law, Vernon and Gladys Behm, Karen Behm and many aunts, uncles, other relatives, and friends.
The family has honored Denver's choice of cremation. A celebration of life service will be held on March 11th , 2023 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in the Wisconsin Rapids Area. The time of service will be at 11:00 a.m with a full honor guard presentation by the VFW at the end. In lieu of flowers, a memorial will be established in Denver's name.
Thank you ProMedica Hospice Team (Audra, Jamie, Jennifer, Chris and Christine, Sarah in bereavement, Lauren the volunteer from bereavement and others) and Arborview Court for all the love and care given to Denver by all the caregivers. Thank you Chaplain Phil, Pastor Robert Wilke from Immanuel Lutheran and Pastor Paul Tullberg for spending time with them and reminding them heaven is their home.
Vivian Behm may receive visits, mail, and packages at Arborview Court, 3750 Blue Violet Lane Rm. 301, Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54494. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. (Romans 10: 9-10)”
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