Walter Behrends, 89

Walter H. Behrends, age 89, of Sturgis, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010, at home.

He was born April 15, 1920, in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, a son of the late John and Martha Behrends.

He was a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving in World War II. Walter resided in Wabash, Ind., for more than 40 years and had lived in the Shipshewana area, Mission, Texas, and most recently in Sturgis.

On March 9, 1946, in Wabash, he married Mary Zintsmaster. She preceded him in death Dec. 7, 1981. On April 15, 1984, he married Barbara Ann Knapp. She preceded him in death in November 2006.

Walter had been employed by the Container Corporation of America in Wabash, was a caretaker for the Ruthmere Museum in Elkhart, Ind., a caretaker for the Shipshewana Brethren Retreat, and a caretaker for Lee Rieth at Klinger Lake where he retired in 1985.

He attended the New Hope Church and enjoyed gardening and woodworking, especially making toys for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Surviving are two sons, Herman (Sue) Behrends of Sturgis and David (Beth) Behrends of Three Rivers; one daughter, Rosalie (Bill) Dennis of Belvidere, Ill.; 16 grandchildren, Chad (Rebecca) Behrends, Allissa (Tim) Bowers, Jonathan (Joy) Behrends, Leigh Anne Behrends, Amy (Ben) Schneider, Greg (Cheritza) Dickson, Jodi (Tom) Dickson, Julie (Jeff) Dickson, Jana (Sean) Guise, Jared (Katrina) Behrends, Megan (Josh) Gremaux, Marianne (Bo) Behrends, Joshua (Crystal) Behrends, Jesse Behrends, and Joseph Behrends; 26 great-grandchildren; and a special stepdaughter, Tonda (Mike) Ely of Three Rivers.

He was preceded in death by his parents; two wives; a granddaughter, Elisabeth Jo “Libby” Behrends; and a brother, John Behrends.

The family will receive friends and relatives from 2-6 p.m., Sunday, at the Hackman Family Funeral Home Rosenberg Chapel, Sturgis.

Funeral services celebrating the life of Walter Behrends will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the funeral home, with Pastor Kevin Mitchell of New Hope Church officiating.

Graveside services and interment will follow in Prairie River Cemetery in Centreville. Memorial donations may be directed to Gideons International or the Three Rivers Area Hospice. Envelopes are available at the funeral home.

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