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Grandville Baptist Church
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Life Story / Obituary
Jim Behrens was a devoted family man. A loving brother, a kind-hearted uncle, and an easy-going nephew, nothing brought Jim greater joy than the time he spent with his close-knit family. He lived his life fully enjoying his love of the great outdoors. An avid hunter and fisherman, Jim treasured any amount of time he spent in the wonderment of nature. A charming person who sincerely loved all people, there simply wasn’t anything that Jim wouldn’t do for anyone he met, especially his family. He leaves behind a warm collection of memories to be cherished by all who knew and loved him.
Despite the war in Korea, by 1952 Americans considered themselves to be prospering. Nearly three out of five families owned a car and more than half of families owned televisions in their homes. That same year on August 11, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Walter and Jeanette (Brom) Behrens welcomed their fourth and fifth children, twins James and Jerry.
Jim lived a typical childhood of the times. His father was a hardworking carpenter prior to contracting polio around the time the twins were born. His mother then went to work as a seamstress. Although his father slowly recovered, he was never able to return to full-time employment. With a large family, there was never a dull moment in the Behrens’ household at 3149 Hoehn NW. He enjoyed hunting and fishing with his father and brothers, which became a lifelong passion. Well liked by his classmates at CA Frost Elementary he set off for Oakleigh Junior High before graduating with the Class of 1970 from Union High School. Jim held a strong desire to serve his country from a young age, and after graduating enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. He never regretted his time in the service and spoke of it fondly over the years. After he was discharged, he landed a position with Meijer as a selector where he was known to drive a Hi Lo in the warehouse. Easy to please and genuinely a people person, he remarkably spent over forty years there, retiring this past January.
Jim’s hard work and efforts at Meijer afforded him the life he wanted. He purchased his forever home on Whitmore yet didn’t spend much time there as he was always on the go. He enjoyed both golfing as well as bowling where he made many lasting friendships over the years. Jim was a very successful deer hunter. He proudly displayed more than fifty mounts in his home. Most of them bagged on the beautiful property in Evart, Michigan where he loved to hunt each season. In addition to deer hunting, he also enjoyed hunting pheasant and turkey. Any game he caught, he cooked and shared with others. He learned many of his hunting secrets and recipes from watching every episode of Michigan Out of Doors, Out Door Life, and many popular fishing shows. As a matter of fact, he was widely known as, The Fish Finder, by his friends and family as Jim knew exactly how and where to catch walleye, perch, salmon, and trout. He especially favored fishing for walleye on Lake Erie, and bluegill in Canada at Rice Lake, as well as smelt dipping in the Carp River. He also spent a good majority of time fishing in many area rivers, lakes, and streams and just about anywhere there was open water! When he wasn’t outdoors, he was surely catching up on his favorite sports teams, the Detroit Lions and the Tigers. Win or lose, he was a loyal fan for many years. In the quieter moments, he enjoyed Jigsaw puzzles and listening to his favorite gospel or country music, especially Crystal Gale!
JIm was very active in his church, helping with their wild game dinners, working with children in their AWANA program, as well as many other activities.
In addition to his love of nature and the outdoors, Jim savored the time he spent with his family. He and his siblings remained especially close over the years. He had a special relationship with his Aunt Jerri. The two of them often shared their favorite treat, Chocolate Sea Foam, whenever they were visiting together in her home. He loved each of his nieces and nephews dearly and enjoyed their visits as well as the special relationships they built over the years. He was always interested in their lives and enjoyed catching up with them listening to their stories and helping to answer some of life’s greatest questions.
No greater time was Jim’s love for his family shown than when he tenderly cared for his mother, Jeanette during her final years in the nursing home. He visited her several times each week and saw that she was treated like a queen. Described as faith-filled, humorous, and dedicated, Jim will surely be missed by his many special friends and family. May they feel his presence each time they gather together to share his stories or any time they are experiencing the beautiful scenery of nature.
Jim Behrens, aged 66, of Grand Rapids, Michigan passed away unexpectedly on Saturday morning, May 25, 2019, while fishing. Born August 11, 1952, he was the son of Walter and Jeanette Behrens who preceded him in death. He is survived by his sisters and brothers, Nancy McAlary, Judi (Jerry) Smith, Jack (Patti) Behrens, twin brother, Jerry Behrens, Terri (Paul) Schmitt; his aunt, Jerrie Heath, many cousins, nieces, nephews, and special friends. Jim loved the beautiful outdoors. Fishing and hunting were his passion. He was a loving, brother, uncle, and nephew who loved his family dearly. He will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered. He was a longtime active member of Grandville Baptist Church, 4325 40th St SW, Grandville, MI 49418, where the service to celebrate Jim’s life will be held on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, at 11:00 am. Burial in Greenwood Cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet his family at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW on Tuesday, from 2:00 – 4:00 and 6:00 – 8:00 pm and again at the church on Wednesday from 10:00 am until the service begins at 11:00 am. Contributions in his memory may be made to Grandville Baptist Church. To sign his guest book and to leave your own memory of him, visit his web page at www.heritagelifestory.com