November 2, 2022
Frederick "Ted" George Behrens, 77, of Gillespie, Ill., passed away Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, at 8:16 p.m. at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis surrounded by his loving family. Ted was born in Waukegan on Oct. 7, 1945, to Dr. Frederick A. "Ted" and Mary (Haddad) Behrens.
In addition to his parents and grandparents, Ted was preceded in death by a niece, Krista Schaefer, Uncles Carl (Harriet) Behrens and Alfred (Irene) and Alex (Margaret) Haddad, Aunt Vanita Haddad, and several cousins.
Ted is survived by his beloved sister, Pamela "Pam" Schaefer, of Hillsboro, and his "kids" –nieces Janeen (Mike) Griewing of Edwardsville, Danelle (Buddy) Bartels of Mahomet, and nephew Thomas "Tommy" (girlfriend Ashley) Justison, of Hillsboro.
He was also blessed with two great-nieces, Marinne and Estella Bartels, three great-nephews, Kameron Bartels and Brayden and Eastyn Griewing, and many wonderful friends.
Ted graduated from Gillespie High School in 1963 and attended Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville before bravely answering the call of his country to join The United States Marine Corps in 1965, where he served in 'America's Battalion'–The Trinity – 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines. Fortes Fortuna Juvat – Fortune Favors the Brave.
He was deployed to Vietnam in 1965, where he served valiantly protecting his brothers-in-arms in Chu Lai and Da Nang in central Vietnam.
His service to his country was dually a great sense of personal pride and the continuance of a proud family tradition, with his father serving in World War II and his grandfather in Word War I.
Upon returning from the Vietnam War, he began work as an architectural draftsman/estimator in St. Louis, where he later retired.
More than work, he enjoyed most his many hobbies and especially time with his family. He always chose family over material gain and made incredible effort to be at every event to support his 'kids.' He truly understood the value in quality time and unconditional love.
He was an incredibly gifted musician. He began playing piano at age 6 and never stopped. Ray Charles was a great inspiration to his music, among many others. His favorite song was What'd I Say. He also played guitar and keyboard for many years in the local band Fat Chance, which had recently returned from retirement. He said he was like "a kid in the candy shop," having the opportunity to entertain the audience once again.
He enjoyed hunting, fishing, playing, and watching football and baseball. He was an avid fan and could often be found on game day tailgating the Illini, St. Louis Rams, and St. Louis Cardinals.
He always had a passion for vehicles, reminiscing often of his yellow Corvette Stingray and later picking up the Harley-Davidson motorcycle at age 50. He most recently acquired and had been restoring a beautiful 1969 Buick Riveria GS – his dream car.
He was a brilliant mind, and always up for an intellectual spar–especially if it had to do with politics, history, militaria, or strategy.
He was a lifelong learner and had the great fortune to travel to many of the historic sites he loved learning so much about. He especially loved having the opportunity to attend many USMC reunions and spend time with his dear friends locally.
He was also a member of Gillespie's Zion Lutheran Church–a church cofounded by his great-grandparents.
It is no surprise that Ted was voted 'Most Popular' in high school. His boisterous laugh, beautiful hazel eyes, toothy grin, and booming voice charmed us all.
Although someone in life who exhibited exceptional humility, his family knows him for the American Hero, the family patriarch, the protector, the father and grandfather figure and the all-around brilliant and loving man he was.
His loyalty, his dependability, his generosity, his support and investment in family at any and every chance he had, his appreciation for life, his intellectual curiosity, his lifelong selflessness and duty to his country and fellow person are all examples not only for all of us to follow but are an incredible legacy of a life dedicated to making anyone who had the great fortune to know Ted a world in which was truly a better place to live.
He will be ever remembered and profoundly missed as the light in his family's life. As you requested, we "Cheers" your wonderful life and everlasting impact on us. Your kids and your family love you dearly. Until we meet again.
Visitation: 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, at Kravanya Funeral Home in Gillespie.
Funeral Service: 2 p.m., Friday, Nov. 4, at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Gillespie with Pastor Stefan Munker officiating.
Burial will follow at the family plot located within Gillespie City Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, Wounded Warrior Project, or a charity of the donor's choice in honor of Ted's passions.