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3200 Stanley Street
Stevens Point, WI 54481
Phone: 715-344-2113
Fax: 715-344-2166
Richard Behm

Richard H Behm

Thursday, October 14th, 1948 - Thursday, July 11th, 2019
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Richard Behm of Stevens Point, WI died at home of heart complications on Thursday, July 11th, 2019 in the arms of his wife of 35 years and one true love, Mary Behm. Rich, a retired UWSP English professor, was 70 years old.
Rich was born in Tiffin, Ohio on October 14, 1948 to Jayne and Delmer Behm. He attended St. Meinrad’s Seminary and School of Theology in Indiana for high school and this early study of religious theology began his life-long interest in storytelling, poetry, and creative writing. Rich attended the University of Saint Thomas, Minnesota to study English. After graduating, he served in the United States Air Force and later earned both his MFA and PhD at Bowling Green State University in Ohio in Creative Writing.
Richard and Mary (Norby) were married on April 27th, 1984 in Mary’s hometown, New London, Wisconsin. Their lives centered around their shared love of teaching, education, nature, family, and dear friends. Their greatest joy was raising their daughter, Jessica, and their greatest blessing was the birth of their three beautiful grandchildren. As a family they enjoyed many adventures together. For 25 years they trekked the Minnesota Boundary Waters with lifelong friends, Tom and Sue Dominik, and delighted in hiking, camping, and visiting historical and natural landmarks across the United States.
Rich cherished his 30-year tenure as a Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. In this capacity, he was the head of the University Tutoring and Learning Center (TLC), served as an acting Dean, and particularly relished teaching pedagogy and writing methodologies for new teachers. His poems were published across multiple journals, including Amelia, The Kenyon Review, The Sewanee Review, and The Southern Review. His outdoor sporting articles may be found in Field & Stream, Sporting Classics, and Wisconsin Outdoor Magazine. He will be remembered as a fine poet, a teacher of teachers, and a supportive colleague.
Rich will be dearly missed by his wife Mary, his daughter Jessica and her partner John, his grandchildren Lilya, Lilac, and Johnny of New York, and his brother, Steve and sister-in-law Kathy of Tiffin, Ohio. Mary is one of eight siblings, and Rich is held in the hearts of his many nieces, nephews, and large extended family. Rich was adored by his wife, daughter, and grandchildren as a gentle, generous, and gifted man.
Each Christmas, Rich composed a poem for the season which he shared with friends and family. His family wishes to share one of their most cherished poems with a wider community who was blessed to have Richard as a friend, teacher, mentor, and colleague.

The Born Again Chorus

It’s claimed that none know why birds sing
Loudest at dawn and just before.
Some think they sing to pass the time
Until the light grows bright enough
For them to see, to feed, or mate.

Some think it is their way to say
Here I am, I am here, here, here.
Still others speculate the light
Brings warmth: it is the blood then that
Circulates into vibrant song.

It’s the last I think is closest
To the stone of truth. Birds sing not
To announce the day, but to call
The sun up. For without their song
The pall of night would never end.

Praise bird, then, each sacred morning;
Bless cardinal and jay, junco,
Chickadee, robin, wren, sparrow,
Bless grosbeak, nuthatch, siskin, lark,
Bless even the death-voiced crow.

Give thanks to warbler, nuthatch, owl,
To goldfinch, killdeer, swallow, dove,
To each and every bird in bush
Or nest, on branch or wing, singing
Up the light, our sweet rekindling.

A memorial gathering to honor the life of Richard Behm will be held on August 10, from 1-4pm, in the Alumni Room of the Dreyfus University Center, UWSP.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Saturday, August 10th, 2019 | 1:00pm - 4:00pm
    Saturday, August 10th, 2019 1:00pm - 4:00pm
    UWSP Dreyfus Center
    1015 Reserve St.
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    A memorial gathering to honor the life of Richard Behm will be held on August 10, from 1-4pm, in the Alumni Room of the Dreyfus University Center, UWSP.


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Philip Venzke

Posted at 01:30pm
So, so deeply saddened to learn that Professor Behm has passed. What I owe to his mentoring can never, ever be repaid. One can only imagine the huge number of lives he had influenced in such a positive way. He will be remembered as an excellent professor, a gentle tutor, a strong coach, and a wonderful poet.

Maureen Giblin

Posted at 09:45am
I am so deeply saddened to hear that Rich has passed and send my deepest sympathy to Mary and his family for the loss of this wonderful man. What I owe to Rich is immeasurable. Without Rich I would not have pursued my career. The number of lives he has positively touched and helped shape are too numerous to count. Those who knew and loved Rich are grateful for his big heart and will miss his presence. Peace and comfort to Mary as so many of us hold her in our hearts.

Connie and Jim Wall

Posted at 09:45pm
Dear Mary and Family:

We are so sorry to hear about your loss of your dear husband, Richard. You have our deepest sympathy and you are in our thoughts and prayers

Connie and Jim Wall

Bonnie Maher

Posted at 08:53am
Words cannot express the sorrow I felt when I learned of the passing of my dear friend and colleague. I've kept my collection of Rich's books of poetry and his Christmas poems through the years. It's time to read them again as I remember Rich.

Larry Watson

Posted at 05:18pm
I was proud to call Rich Behm my friend. When we moved to Stevens Point, and I began teaching at UWSP, he was among the first of my colleagues to welcome me. He helped me get settled in, and he patiently answered all the questions I had about how things worked. Over the years we talked about literature, education, sports, popular culture, and so much more. No matter what the topic, Rich and I were invariably in agreement, and no matter how serious the subject, we always found something to laugh about.
He was a fine poet, much better than many poets with more exalted reputations. If this discrepancy bothered him, he never showed it. But that injustice bothered me; he deserved to be more widely read and praised. And perhaps that literary recognition will still come to him. Rich also wrote movingly and intelligently about the natural world, and he was as comfortable and skilled on the banks of a trout stream as he was in the classroom.
He wrote and spoke with insight about education and educational practices, but he was much more than a theorist. He was an inspiring teacher. Students clamored to get into his classes, and I'm certain that many of his former students recognize that their lives were changed in important ways because they once took a class from Rich Behm.
He was a loving, attentive husband and father, and his wife, daughter, and grandchildren will miss him most of all. But none of us who knew Rich will ever forget him.

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