June 9, 2017 – West Bend, WI – It’s a big day for Grandma June Behm who turns 100 years old on Sunday.
Behm was born June 11, 1917 when Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States. Behm was an only child, born in Cambridge, WI. She excelled in education and graduated high school at 16.
After school she went to work for the state government in the Industrial Commission in Madison. Behm was 24 when she married on May 10, 1941. She came to West Bend and worked for 25 years as a legal secretary at the O’Meara Law Office when it was located on the triangle, where Old Settler’s Park currently stands.
“They should have never torn down that building,” said Behm. “That was quite a landmark and they didn’t believe in keeping the antiques there. This was on the Main Street and it was featured on one of the telephone fliers.”
Behm recalled some of the attorneys at the firm including Jim Pouros, Steven O’Meara and Tom O’Meara.
“When I worked downtown I used to go shopping at Campbells and the Penny’s store,” she said. “They had a first floor and then clothing for sale in the balcony.”
A member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Behm said she liked West Bend because it was “always friendly.”
Fondly referred to by her family as “The Dessert Queen” Behm could whip up some famous desserts including poppy seed torte and hoho cake.
The secret to longevity? “I don’t think anybody really knows,” laughed Behm. “Part of it is your ancestors.”
Below are some memories from her great grandchildren:
She crocheted me these cute little slippers that I still have! I wore them all the time and they were made with love. Also this beautiful needle point picture that hung on my bedroom wall my whole life… announcing my birth. So special to have those family made treasures! I can’t believe the amount of time and love that went into that given how many grandkids and great grandkids she has! It’s mind blowing. What a labor of love all those things were! And she never forgot a birthday or celebration – despite having so many family members to keep track of! I always got a card in the mail. That is dedication! She is such a gem. Also I can’t forget the forbidden peanut M&M jar on top of the dresser in her upstairs room.. one of my favorite parts of going there I must admit! Oh so many memories coming up… the lemon poppy seed torte and hoho cakes at her house in the summer. The long line of food – rolls, baked beans, coleslaw mm mm – going all through her kitchen. The park across the street. Crayfish in the stream. So many memories! All the owls on the table in her front room. I still remember the smell of her home and the art work on the walls and the mustard colored couch. —Kristin, Great granddaughter
Great comfort food meals, hoho cake and yummy desserts she always made. Of course the wonderful quilts she made for our kids, and her crocheted dish cloths and towels she made. —Lynn, Granddaughter in law
I remember when I was little Grandma ALWAYS had peanut M & M’s filled up in her candy dish. All the grand kids would eat them and they would always be filled up again next time we went over. It was always so cute the way she would make sure we all got peanut M & M’s every time we went over and that she always made sure to remember to refill the dish. I always thought that on some visit there would be no M & M’s in the dish and that she would have finally forgotten but she never did. I still remember thinking of her as “The M & M grandma” when I was really little. Its just a little memory but its one that stands out big in my head because, as a little kid, you think those things are the best! —Mishan, Great Granddaughter
You just took the memory I was gonna share Mishan!!! That was the thing I always looked forward to. She kept them in that unique looking glass bowl. Definitely something I won’t ever forget……. oh and I always loved looking at all her cool owl souvenirs!…. —Zac, Great Grandson
Haha! See how big a deal those little things are to kids, lol! I’m gonna have SOOOO many M & M’s at my house when I’m a grandma! —Mishan
I thought of that too. That’s crazy. Yeah I was gonna say that was the best. When you’re a little kid that seems like the best. You walk in and it’s in that unique glass. You take off the top piece and see the holy M&Ms you have been waiting so long for! —Isaiah, Great Grandson
I always loved going there and counting how many owl decorations and knick knacks she had, I counted all the way up to 80 or 90 I believe! Ha! —Marlissa, Great Granddaughter
I remember walking to her house after work, just to talk. We talked about everything from World War II and the Kennedy assassination to the recently elected Scott Walker. I always thought it interesting that all of those historical moments felt so far removed from myself but for her, seemed just like yesterday. Such a wealth of knowledge! —Joshua, Great Grandson
Most of my favorite memories were when we went out to Arizona to visit her and grandpa. We would always go out to their favorite Mexican restaurant, play cards and go hiking in Saguaro National Park. I also remember her taking us to this restaurant in the old western city that was decorated like a saloon. Ties weren’t allowed so we went to Goodwill to buy old ties and wear them to the restaurant and they would cut them off. Another fun memory was her taking us to Nogales, Mexico and getting a picture of us riding a donkey with a sombrero on. —Jamie, Great granddaughter
Peanut M&Ms; Ho Ho Cake; Poppy seed Torte; pool table in basement; holidays and various special occasions at Grandma and Grandpa’s; Christmas in October; Playing at the park across the road; Catching crayfish in the creek across the road; Sitting on the back patio looking on their well-kept yard; Rabbits, birds and squirrels in the back yard; Always happy to see you; always “proper”, never uncouth, etc.; Very loyal; Intelligent; Always enjoyed good conversation; faith and morals; strong opinions; “everything in moderation”; Good sense of humor; Dignified; Played cribbage with Grandpa every night; Enjoyment of sports (Badgers, Packers, Nascar—Matt Kenseth); Love of animals and nature; Used to fish with Grandpa, and went fishing with me a few times on Bass Lake. Caught a nice 26” Northern Pike one time; Good with dogs and cats. She used to take care of our cat Kookie during vacations, and when she’d sternly tell her to stay out of a certain room, she did!; In my adult life, she took care of our cat Felix at least once also; Staying at their place in Arizona; Grandma and Jake, our dog. She would feed him buttered pumpernickel bread. She insisted he liked it buttered best, so that’s what he got. But he wasn’t allowed on the couch, and he obeyed her when she told him so; married 70 years and they still liked each other!; Lunches at Gma & Gpa’s, sometimes with friends of theirs or extended family – I believe this is how I first met folks like Inez and Arden; Their neighbors in AZ – “happy hour”; Personal appearance always nice; Stories she would tell; She seems to have always seen the best possible me in me, and that makes me want to be that person. —Myles, Grandson
Grandma was a great wife. She was always respectful, forgiving, supportive. I remember her telling me once that she would always fix her hair a little and at least put a little lipstick on in the morning before making Grandpa’s breakfast for work because she didn’t want him to remember her looking like she just got out of bed. I guess it paid off, since they were married for 70 years! And if Grandpa were still here, he’d find her just the same. She is always in full dress: hair done, face made-up, outfit and jewelry coordinated. Maybe that’s what keeps her young! That and her social nature. She loves to visit and has always been wonderful at keeping in touch through the mail and the phone. When I think of Grandma Behm, I think of the perfect Grandma…what you think of when you say, “grandmotherly,” yet few of us really have contact with such people. She’s a beautiful combination of love and affection and stern expectations. When I married into the Muckerheide family, I gained many blessings, and she is most definitely one of them. Paula, Granddaughter-in-law
Grandma and Grandpa Behm had a cottage on Long Lake, which is north of Newald, getting close to the northern border of Wisconsin. When I was around 5 years old, my brother Mitch and I were staying over night at their cottage. In the morning, grandma got us ready for church and told us NOT to get dirty while we were outside. Needless to say, I fell in the lake! ..or was I pushed?”–Matt, grandson