Edward J. Behm Sr., 87, of Mattoon, IL, died at 12:10 A.M. Wednesday, November 11, 2020 (Veterans Day), at Palm Terrace of Mattoon, IL. A private funeral service and burial will be held with immediate family at the Dodge Grove Cemetery with masks and social distancing required. Pastor Todd Krost of the First United Methodist Church is officiating. Shrader Funeral Home, Arcola, is assisting the family with arrangements.
Ed was born January 11, 1933, 4 1/2 miles west of Chebanse, IL, the son of John F.W. and Belle I. Gerard Behm. He was united in marriage to Gail E. Simms in Champaign, IL on September 4, 1954. She preceded him in death on February 13, 2012.
Ed and Gail were married for over 57 years. During that time, four children were born to their union: daughters Rev. Cathy (Kerry) Minor of Mattoon, IL and Mary (Daniel) Helfrich of Lovington, IL; sons Edward (Lisa) Behm Jr. of Houston, TX and Rev. William “Scottie” Behm of Claremore, OK. Also surviving is brother Derry Behm of Ashkum, IL. Ed enjoyed his grandchildren: Dr. Kyle (Anna) Minor of Mahomet, IL; Courtney (Andy) Moore of West Point, IN; Edward (Dazy) Behm III of Midland, TX; Margarete (George Preston) Behm of Owasso, OK; Mary (Dan) Masci of Prince Edward Island, Canada; David Behm of Houston, TX; William “Trevor” (Cheryl ) Behm of Pearland, TX; Riley (Kelsey) Behm of Oklahoma City, OK; Timothy, Joseph “Brett” and Andrew Behm of Claremore, OK; Mary Katherine “Katie” (Miles Brown) Helfrich of Arthur, IL; Sarah (Sean Cox) Helfrich of Hammond, IL. Ed enjoyed 14 great-grandchildren: Olivia and Cooper Minor of Mahomet, IL; Nikolai and Edward “Johnny” Behm IV of Midland, TX; Christian Craig, Owen and Zoey Brown of Arthur, IL; Chloe Cox of Arcola, IL; Aubree, Emma and Clara Cox of Hammond, IL; Dylan and William Moore of West Point, IN; Mayah Masci of Prince Edward Island, Canada and special friend Leanne Homann of Mattoon, IL. Ed was preceded in death by sister, Donna Winkel; brother, Donald Behm; grandson, Benjamin Helfrich; great-grandsons Edan Behm and Lucas Minor.
Ed graduated from Chebanse High School, where he was the Outstanding Agriculture Student. He earned both a BS and MS in Agriculture from the University of Illinois, and MS in Bank Finance from the University of Wisconsin. Ed served his country in South Korea in the US Army.
Ed and his mother used to make chocolate milk and sell in nearby gas stations until the health department discontinued sales of unpasteurized milk. Ed’s mother started him in piano lessons when he was 5 years of age. Livestock, chickens, pears, and basically all farm produce were part of his youth. Between college graduation and answering his call to duty, Ed moved to Mattoon, where he taught Agriculture in Mattoon High School. He taught Korean War Veterans, Farmers, and Landowners after school and nights upon his return from service.
Ed joined the banking community in 1967 with First National Bank, currently First Mid Bank and Trust, being recruited from teaching Agriculture in Wyoming, IL by Clark Brogan and Mel Lockhart. Ed was appreciated by the local agriculture community for teaching modern agriculture practices, improving farm productivity through technology-such as improved drainage, and farm profitability through detailed business planning. When he retired from First Mid IL Bank and Trust in 1998, he was thankful for a three-day retirement celebration. Ed was instrumental in negotiating the land deal to build the Sarah Bush Lincoln Hospital.
Ed was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Mattoon, IL; the Masons for over 65 years, the American Legion, the Lions Club, and the Mattoon Golf and Country Club. He enjoyed playing golf, fishing with kids and grandkids, and family vacations. Ed was thankful for his family and many friends.
In Lieu of Flowers, memorials can be made to Alzheimer’s Association, American Cancer Society, or the Sarah Bush Lincoln Hospital.
Those wishing to express sympathy or other wishes to the family may be sent to www.hilligossshraderfh.com.