It is with great sadness that the family of Thomas Edward Behnke announces his passing on Monday, June 24th, 2019 at Aspirus Long Term Care in Ontonagon, Michigan at the age of 86. Tom will be lovingly remembered by his children, Sandra (John) Monville, Daniel Behnke and Mike Behnke, as well as his grandchildren Ashley Baker and Michael (Alecia) Behnke, Jr., and his great grandchildren, Ivy and Paisley Behnke, (and a yet unkown great grandchild he was anxiously awaiting.) Tom will also be fondly remembered by his many nieces and nephews and cousins,sister and brother in laws who he enjoyed sharing his life with.
Tom was born on July 8, 1932 in Peshtigo, Wisconsin to Fred and Florence Behnke. He was the baby of his large family, and was the last surviving member of his siblings Margaret Mathy, Leonard Behnke, Ben Behnke, Hazel Dory, Mary Lou Mainhardt, Jim Behnke and Pearl Zinther. He was especially close to all of his siblings.
Tom graduated from Peshtigo High School in 1950 where he was an outstanding football player for the Peshtigo Bulldogs. A time in his life he remembered fondly and cherished many friendships. After graduation Tom enlisted in the United States Army. After his service to our country he returned to Peshtigo where he met and married Jeanene Marie Picotte of Ontonagon, Michigan. He then worked at the Badger Paper Mill and Bob Bar in Peshtigo while starting his family.
After a few years in a decision made by him and his wife they then decided on returning to Jeanene's home area of Ontonagon Michigan to raise their family and purchased the Copper Inn Bar in 1970. There he built this famous food and beverage business into one of Ontonagon's fondly remembered establishments to many. A fire then took this business in 1981 and he moved his family to Florida. Tom then worked at ABC Liquor Stores as store manager for many years until an illness returned him back to Ontonagon where he also enjoyed working at the American Legion in White Pine until his retirement.
Tom was an avid Green Bay Packers fan his whole life and nothing gave him more pleasure (or pain) than watching the Packers play. He also enjoyed many outdoor activities in Northern Michigan during his life, especially with his grand daughter Ashley, where he would teach her about the wildlife of the area. An activity they loved and shared throughout their time together. Tom enjoyed playing cards with his extended family, cooking, and time with many friends. Tom was a member of St. Jude Catholic Church in White Pine, MI also the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion Post 462. Tom was proceeded in death by his wife of 56 years, Jeanene. His mother and father and his siblings and a Mother in law, Ellen (Pops) Steed who he adored. Toms sister in law Candy said it best and we need to share. Danny: What do you think heaven looks like? Candy: Well I think it is the Copper Inn bar and everyone is sitting at the bar, grandma Ellen, Jeanene, Karen, Aunti Mur, Jake, Pops, all Toms friends & family through the years that have passed all waiting for their bartender...Tom...to serve them some drinks and join the party! PERFECT CANDY!
The family of Tom would like to invite family and friends to a Celebration of Tom's life which will be held at the American Legion Post in White Pine, Michigan from 1-4pm on Sunday, June 30th. His final resting place and burial will be held in Peshtigo, Wisconsin at a future date to be announced. those who so desire may make memorial donations in memory of Tom to OCAP, Ontonagon County Animal Protection group or the Ontonagon Cancer Association.
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