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 Fred Behm

Fred Behm

Wisconsin, USA
Death 18 Feb 2014 (aged 102–103)
Lane County, Oregon, USA
Burial Eugene, Lane County, Oregon, USA
Memorial ID 125670446 · View Source
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The forest stand of the upper McKenzie valley lost an old growth February 18, 2014 with the death at his home of Blue River tree farmer Fred Behm, aged 102.

Born in Wisconsin to immigrant parents in 1911, his father and two of three brothers died in the year he was born. His mother subsequently married William Miller and his childhood was spent on a rocky farm in northern Wisconsin with four siblings.

When he was twelve he was picked up and carried for a ride by the tornado that destroyed the family's farm. He left school and started working full time, cutting cord wood, running a trap line, and in winter setting chokers for a horse logger near Weyerhauser, Wisconsin.

His early life was like a Horatio Alger novel in which the hero succeeds with pluck, luck, honesty and hard work.

During the Depression he followed the timber west and worked in logging camps in Idaho as a faller, cutting trees with a two man hand saw. He decided to try his luck logging in Alaska, but booked passage too far north and overshot the timber. He found work in a gold mine instead.

In 1939 he passed through Blue River on his way back to Alaska after a visit home to Wisconsin. The river was blue, the trees were big...he bought a house for $300 and stayed.

In 1940 he returned to Wisconsin to marry a girl he had met on that visit home, Dorothy Snyder. Electricity had not arrived on the McKenzie, the plumbing was out back, but she married him after just two dates. He bought more property, hired WWII vets from his home town and built a business and a family.

Dorothy and he were part of the community together until her death in 2006.

They never met a kid they couldn't like. They hosted Red Cross swimming lessons for hundreds of children at the new house he built in 1953. With Art Dustan he started little league baseball with his crew crummy truck doubling as team bus, and hosted tournaments that drew teams from California. All of the grandchildren bounced along on fishing trips in the yellow motor home and yellow boat.

Fred worked with the McKenzie Outdoor School for years, into his eighties, climbing back up on a springboard to share his love of the forests and helping a crew of kids cut down a tree by hand. He took citizenship seriously, serving on numerous boards and community organizations. At 101 he had people scrambling to replace a missing electoral ballot.

The last of his generation, and of his kind, Fred leaves his son, Jerry, daughter, Nancy, five grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.

His life was amazing. A natural storyteller, his humor and generosity of spirit were a gift to everyone who knew him.

Interment will be private, with family. A memorial service will be planned for later.

His family would like to thank his caregivers for sharing in loving that man. Remembrances may be made to McKenzie Outdoor School. Arrangements entrusted to Springfield Memorial Funeral Home. Please access the obituary and you are invited to sign the guestbook at
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  • Created by: Bill Miltonberger
  • Added: 27 Feb 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 125670446
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Fred Behm (1911–18 Feb 2014), Find A Grave Memorial no. 125670446, citing Rest-Haven Memorial Park, Eugene, Lane County, Oregon, USA ; Maintained by Bill Miltonberger (contributor 46942723) .