George F. Behselich, 97, passed away on Friday, August 2, 2019 at Aspirus Riverview Hospital, Wisconsin Rapids.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 am on Thursday, August 8, 2019 at Saint Joachim Catholic Church, Pittsville, with Father Nathan and Father James Esser officiating. Burial will be in the parish cemetery and serving as pallbearers will be grandsons, Tony Bray, Joel Cournoyer, Clinton and Garret Peterson, Jeremiah, Jeffrey, Brian, Scott, Brandon, Jessie, Jamie and Logan Behselich. Visitation will be from 4:00 pm until 7:30 pm and Wednesday at Buchanan/Rembs Funeral Home, Pittsville and from 10:00 am until service time on Thursday at St. Joachim Catholic Church. A rosary service will be held at 7:00 pm on Wednesday at the funeral home.
George Fred Behselich was born to Phillip and Lillian (Brown) Behselich on February 25, 1922 at the home farm, Pittsville, Wisconsin. He attended Saint Joachim’s Catholic Grade School Pittsville and graduated 8th grade under Father Wilitzer. Right after school he went into farming with his parents Phillip and Lillian Behselich from 1936 to 1951. During World War II, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, George volunteered to serve in the United States Army but George received an agricultural deferment.
He married Geraldine I. Hasenohrl, from the Town of Richfield on June 1, 1946 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church Marshfield, Wisconsin. He and the family moved to a dairy farm on Polish Road, Pittsville and farmed from 1951 to 1956. He later moved the family to a dairy farm in the Town of Sherry and farmed there from 1956 to 1960. With the passing of his father in 1960, the family moved back to the home dairy farm, Pittsville and later went into business with sons Dennis and Paul and switched from milking guernsey dairy cows to raising hogs until 1983.
He and wife Gerry moved near family in Canyon Texas, resided there for 7 years and 1 year in Kingman, Arizona, during this time he and Gerry traveled around a great deal and visited many interesting places. Later residing back at the home farm, Pittsville, Wisconsin.
He was a member of Saint Joachim’s Catholic Church, Pittsville. A lifetime member of the Holy Name Society and President of the Wood County National Farmers Organization for 12 years.
In 2013 he and wife Gerry enjoyed the Behselich Farm 100 year centennial celebration/reunion. In 2016 he and wife Gerry, along with family, celebrated their 70th Wedding Anniversary. On June 1, 2019 they celebrated 73 years of marriage.
He loved farming all his life and continued farming from his chair when he could no longer navigate the yard. The boys would drive him around the countryside, and oh, how he loved to see the cornfields. He often expressed his appreciation to Dennis and Paul for continuing the Behselich Family Fourth Generation Farm and enjoyed their reports of the day to day operations. In his younger years he helped on the farm, his chores were feeding the livestock and milking the cows by hand alongside his mother and father. He started picking beans when he was six years old to earn money for school clothes. His dad raised horses and he would often ride one particular horse named Pat in the wintertime pulling his younger brother Bob behind on old wooden skis in the woods across the road. He and Bob loved to “belly flop” in the snow on sleds made by his uncles Emitt and Fred Brown. One could see it was particularly hard for him when Bob passed away in 2011. After that he said more than once, “I can still hear Ma say, George look after Bob.”
As a father, on the Fourth of July, he took the kids to the fireworks in Pittsville. On Christmas Eve he handed out the presents but not until after supper and after milking time, and that had to be the longest 2 hours! Even the cows got the best hay we had in the barn as their Christmas present. Every year on Father’s Day, he and Gerry would take the family to picnics at Richfield Park meeting up with aunts, uncles and cousins all enjoying delicious food, good company and sometimes even playing baseball…always had to be the first to leave though, because of the cows!
When the house was still full of kids and some were misbehaving, no one wanted Mom to tell Dad, he could be very strict, but he hardly ever raised his voice, he didn’t have to… everyone knew he meant business! He was always around but never said much. Everyone eventually married and or moved out and soon came back to visit with the grandkids.
And then it changed…
As grandpa he carried the grandkids around showering them with hugs and kisses…watching, one would almost think he never had any children of his own even though he already raised eleven. He greeted everyone when visiting with a big smile and wanted to know how everyone was doing. He truly loved all his grandchildren, and many “adopted” grandkids as well, there was always room for more. Family was most important to him and he was always concerned about their welfare and especially their spiritual welfare. When the grandkids became adults, he often asked, “Are they getting married in the Catholic Church?” Retirement was helping the kids whenever he could from helping the boys on the farm to helping anyone with a cleaning project. In winter he would stop over while some of the kids (heating with wood) were at work, he would stoke up the wood stove leaving a warm toasty house behind. He loved to garden along with his wife, and they canned the produce harvested from it even in their retirement years.
He attended Mass participated in the First Friday and First Saturday devotions. He offered up prayers many times a day for all his, sometimes wayward, children and grandchildren. He loved the Lord and had a special devotion to the Blessed Mother. He lived his faith every day blessing the family with his example, leaving us the precious gift of a Christian Catholic faith that will last forever.
He is survived by 11 children, Dennis Behselich, Donald (Marcia) Behselich, Charlotte (Bill) Bray, Colleen Schwanebeck, Analee (Randy) Peterson, Paul (Sue) Behselich, Mark (Wendy) Behselich, Phillip (Linda) Behselich, Lynette (Larry) Stenz, Joseph (Sandy) Behselich, Alan Behselich. He is also survived by 47 grandchildren, 100 great grandchildren and 4 great-great grandchildren. He is further survived by 4 sisters, Catherine (the late Bill) Shroeder, Annalee (Tom) Hagen, Jane (the late Don) Anderson and Joan (Ron) Ebacher
He was preceded in death by his parents, and wife Geraldine of 73 years, 2 grandsons, Nathan Fox and Eric Cournoyer, a great-grandson, Kielante Behselich, a son-in-law Raymond Schwanebeck, a daughter -in-law, Cathy (Grobe) Behselich, a sister in infancy, and his brother Robert Behselich.
“God Bless you Dad, we know your heart was broken when Mom recently passed… now you are with your sweetheart! Thank you for all you have done …from all your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren. You will be missed.“
The family wishes to thank members of Apirus Riverview Hospital personnel.
Condolences may be sent online to www.rembsfh.com