Frederick “Ted” George Behrens, 77, of Gillespie, 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.
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 Viet Nam in 1965, where he served valiantly protecting his brothers-in-arms in Chu Lai and Da Nang in central Viet Nam.
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 WWII and his grandfather in WWI.
Upon returning from the Viet Nam 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 six 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 gameday tailgating the Illinois 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 co-founded by his great-grandparents.
Ted is survived by his sister, Pamela ‘Pam’ Schaefer, of Hillsboro, and his “kids” nieces, Janeen (Mike) Griewing of Edwardsville, Danelle (Buddy) Bartels of Mahomet; nephew, Thomas ‘Tommy’ (girlfriend Ashley) Justison, of Hillsboro; two great-nieces, Marinne and Estella Bartels; three great-nephews, Kameron Bartels, Brayden and Eastyn Griewing, and many wonderful friends.
Ted was preceded in death by his parents; grandparents; a niece, Krista Schaefer; uncles, Carl (Harriet) Behrens and Alfred (Irene) and Alex (Margaret) Haddad; aunt, Vanita Haddad, and several cousins.
Visitation will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022 at Kravanya Funeral Home in Gillespie.
Funeral service will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, Nov. 4, 2022 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.