Joseph Arthur “Joe” Behnke, Sr.

by Lynn McMillen
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Joseph Arthur "Joe" Behnke Sr. Joseph Arthur “Joe” Behnke, Sr., age 76 of Albertville, Alabama, went to Heaven on February 27, 2024. He was born on February 26, 1948 in Chicago, Illinois to parents Arthur Herman Behnke and Mildred Prince Behnke. He is preceded in death by his parents and an older infant sister.

Joe joined the United States Navy in 1969 and spent 4 years serving his country. In 1973 when he left the Navy, he enjoyed his life stateside. He raced Enduro Bikes in the 1970s and started a brief career as a truck driver and diesel mechanic in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Joe was able to explore the world not only through his time in the Navy, but as a sculptor. Joe was taught sculpting by an Italian Sculptor in Chicago during the 1960s. His hobby became a passion, his craft. Joe traveled across the United States and to the Caribbean not only to create beautiful works for others, but to inspire sculpting students. In the 1990s and 2000s, Joe became known as the Grandfather of Mouldmaking in the United States.

In his free time, Joe was an avid fisherman. Many days he could be found out on the lake catching catfish, bass, stripes, anything that would bite. He certainly kept the deep freezer full! Joe’s love of fishing was closely matched by his love of Alabama Football (Roll Tide!). During football season, Joe’s social media could be seen filled with posts announcing the Crimson Tide was going to whoop their opponent any given weekend.

Finally, Joe had a soft spot for dogs. He is preceded in death by two of his best dog pals, Rudy and Dollie. He leaves behind two canine comrades, Eddie and Buford, who were able to see him in the hospital and give him final earthside licks and kisses.

Left to cherish Joe’s memory and legacy are his beloved wife Jannette Behnke of Albertville, AL, his two sons Joe Behnke, Jr. (Kari) of Joliet, Illinois and Brian Behnke (Angela) of Pearland, Texas, stepdaughter Melinda Collier (Phillip) of Converse, Louisiana, and five grandchildren: Colin Behnke, Donovan Behnke, Anniston Collier, Ridge Collier, and Tripp Collier. Joe is also survived by his siblings, Suzanne Midlock (John), Artie Behnke, half-siblings Angela Hopkins (Ron), Alice Back, William Behnke, Cathy Moore, John Behnke (Nikki) and a multitude of nieces, nephews, and other extended family.

Joe will be remembered as a passionate man whose smile lit up a room and made everyone who received it feel like a million bucks. He was affectionately known by his immediate family as “Most Handsome”. Joe loved his family very much, especially his children and grandchildren. To his children, please remember his words: “You all have little people looking up to you, so you better shine to them!”

Visitation will be at Peck Funeral Home in Hartselle, Alabama at 6:00 PM on Friday, March 1, 2024. The funeral will also be at Peck Funeral Home on Saturday, March 2, 2024, at 1:00 PM. Cremation services will follow.

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