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Robert Behl

Obituary for Robert Behl

January 24, 1920 - May 30, 2018
Columbus, Wisconsin | Age 98


A Life Well Lived. That describes Attorney Robert W. Behl of Columbus, Wisconsin who died on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at the Larson House in Columbus, WI at the age of 98. He was born on January 24, 1920 in Columbus, WI to Otto R. and Ella L (Ehlert) Behl. In 1927 his family moved from Columbus to Racine, WI where he spent most of his childhood. During his teen years, however, he returned to Columbus and spent his summers with his father, who due to the depression years was found to remain at his job as a Telegraph and Passenger Agent at the Columbus Depot, until his retirement in 1940.

Robert graduated from Washington Park High School in Racine in 1938. He continued his studies at the University of Wisconsin Madison during the school term of 1939-40. He was called into service by the U.S. Army in February 1942 and remained there until March of 1946. During those years he attained the rank of 1st Lieutenant. His overseas assignments took him to Newfoundland for a year, and then he went on to Hawaii, Guadalcanal, New Britain, New Guinea, Australia, the Philippine Islands and Korea. In the Pacific Theatre he was assigned to the 40th Army Division.

After the war and while still on Terminal Leave from the Army, he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin – Madison at mid-term. He was united in marriage with Janet Goodland on Feb 23, 1946. Janet was the daughter of Judge Elmer D. Goodland and Dorothea (Ramsay) Goodland of Racine, WI. The couple resumed their college careers in Madison after Janet's transfer from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. Robert received a Bachelor of Science degree from the Business School in 1948 and his LLB Degree from the Law School in 1950. The couple moved to Columbus, WI in August 1949 when Robert was employed by the Herbert L Zeidler Law Firm. Robert was awarded his Doctor of Law Degree from the University of Wisconsin -Madison on August 26, 1977.
During his professional career, he specialized in legal matters relating to the probating of estates, transfers of real estate and income tax. The traits of integrity and prudence were firmly embedded in his character with the results that many of his attorney-client relationships were converted into lifetime friendships. He served many terms in public office as Justice of the Peace, Court Commissioner for Columbia County and City Attorney for the City of Columbus, WI. He devoted many of his hours to community service as a member of the local Kiwanis Club for almost 68 years, the American Legion, VFW Post 8090 and as Executive Secretary of United Fund when it was known as the Columbus Community Chest. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Columbus Community Hospital for several years and was the President of the Board during the difficult transition years when the local St. Mary's Hospital became the Columbus Community Hospital at it new location on Park Avenue. His board members were responsible for all of the planning, selection of site, architecture and contractors, and the early construction of the new hospital.

In 1964 Attorney Behl moved his family from their Charles Street home to their beloved farm on the banks of the Crawfish River in the Township of Elba. The following 40 years there produced many wonderful memories – kids and ponies, horseshows and blue ribbons, new born calves, kittens and puppies, flower and vegetable gardens, bushels of apples, bountiful crops of corn and hay, birthday and graduation parties, ice skating parties, fence painting parties, participating in state and county fairs with cattle resulting in blue ribbons, fresh air with beautiful sunsets, along with friends and family gatherings. He also enjoyed his many years with Janet going to the winter home at Kingsgate in Nokomis, Florida to enjoy its sunshine and sandy beaches.
Survivors of Robert W. Behl include his two daughters Nancy (Kevin) Weisensel and Christine Behl both of Columbus, two grandchildren Jared Chase and finance Linda Morales, and James Chase and friend Sharla Berndt, and 6 great grandchildren – Emma, Ally, Alexa, Chloe, recently two twins Brielle and Luca born in April 2018, along with many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. He was preceded in death by parents Otto and Ella Behl, his beloved wife of 71 ¾ years Janet G. Behl, his sons David, twins Joseph and John. He was also preceded in death by his sisters Delores (Behl) Sprenkle, Ruth (Behl) Pahnke and recently Dorothy (Behl) Kozlik; his brother Eugene Snyder.

A CELEBRATION OF LIFE will be held Saturday, June 16th at the Columbus Country Club from 1-4pm with a prayer celebration at 2pm. This celebration will also include his wife Janet who passed away in November 2017 and his son David who passed away May 2nd, 2018. A private family service will be held at Hillside Cemetery in Columbus, WI for internment on Monday, June 18th, 2018 with military honors for Robert.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Columbus Community Hospital Foundation and to the Columbus Kiwanis Club.

A special thank you to the staff of nurses at the Columbus Community Hospital, Doctors Rolf and Sam Poser and other specialists, who took care of Robert. Special thanks to the staff at the Larson House. Special thanks to Generations Hospice, and Home Health United for your care of Robert and Janet while they lived at home. Special thanks to Pastors Sandy Schieble and Mark Peterson for all your help during these difficult times. Koepsell-Zeidler Funeral Home is serving the family. The support of everyone is very appreciative.

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  • Columbus Kiwanis Club

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Koepsell-Zeidler Funeral & Cremation Services, Columbus

146 South Dickason Boulevard
Columbus, WI 53925
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