June 3, 1927 – January 21, 2019
Wayne Behrns, 91, of Dieterich, Illinois, passed away peacefully on Monday January 21, 2019 at HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital after suffering a heart attack the week before.
Family and friends are invited to a celebration of life service at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Wheeler, Saturday, January 26th at 10:30 a.m. with Pastor Gary Fortkamp officiating. Burial will follow in the St. Paul’s Cemetery with military rites conducted by the American Legion Post #628. Lunch will be served in the church hall following the committal service. Visitation will be held Friday, January 25th, from 4-7 p.m. at the Meyer Funeral Home in Dieterich, as well as from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday at the church. Memorial donations may be made to the Meals on Wheels in Dieterich or the Cross Foundation in Effingham with envelopes available at the funeral home.
Wayne was born on the family farm north of Dieterich on June 3, 1927, to Edwin J. and Edith (Zimdars) Behrns. He attended school in Dieterich, occasionally riding his horse in; and, in the winter, ice skating to school. He graduated from Teutopolis High School in 1945, after completing the three-year Dieterich program. He married Carol Jeane Hetzer July 2, 1950. They started their married life in Effingham and then bought a farm north of Dieterich in 1957 where they farmed and raised their family. They later moved to Dieterich, where they have resided since 1973.
Wayne actively farmed until his retirement in 2007. For most of those years he partnered with his brother, Lyle, and son, David. They founded Behrns Grain Company in 1966. Wayne was a grain merchandiser for Siemer Milling Company in Teutopolis when he was appointed as Bureau Chief for the Division of Products, Inspections and Standards with the Illinois Dept. of Agriculture. While in that position, he was the first person from Illinois to serve on the National Board of American Plant and Food Control; he was board president in 1988-89.
A World War II Navy veteran, Wayne was stationed in Hawaii after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Wayne was a past commander for American Legion Post 628 in Dieterich, where he was a member for 71 years. Always active in the local community, Wayne was a charter member of the Dieterich Community Development Corporation and the Ruritan Club. He was on the board of directors for the Montrose Mutual Telephone Company for 54 years. He was also an accomplished fast-pitch softball pitcher for several years.
Lifelong members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Wheeler, Wayne and his loving wife, Carol, were also volunteers with Meals on Wheels and greeters at the Cross at the Crossroads for many years.
In addition to Carol, Wayne leaves behind son David of Dieterich; daughter Nancy (Stephen) Gray of Greenville, NC; grandson Kyle (Chelsea) Gray and daughter Emerson of Brevard, NC; grandson Andrew (Meg) Gray, daughter Shepherd and son Bowman of Boone, NC; and grandson Evan Gray of Greenville; brother Lyle of Dieterich and sister, Evelyn Vail of Effingham.