Martha Elizabeth "Betty" Shepard Behm, Class of 1937
Betty Shepard Behm, a life-long Perry and Madison resident, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother, aunt, businesswoman, encourager and friend to many died Friday, May 20, 2016. She was born August 19, 1919, in Perry, to Ralph Ewart and Martha Anna (nee Averill) Shepard. Betty grew up on the family farm on Shepard Road, graduated from Perry High School and Central School of Practical Nursing in Cleveland. She married Wilford N. Behm on December 24, 1941 at her family home in Perry. She was a partner with her husband in the family-owned Behm Funeral Home founded in 1906 by Wilford's parents, Walter C. and Alta E. Behm. Upon Wilford's death at age 40 in 1961, Betty devoted her time to managing the Behm Funeral Home with the help of Thomas Stanton, a licensed Embalmer/Funeral Director while raising her five children, rarely missing an event important to the children. In later years, Betty continued to be a mentor to her children and others in the business. She is remembered as being at the funeral home, always with a smile and encouraging word. Betty brought out the best in people and reached out to others with uplifting notes, deliveries of Melrose apples, homemade relish and cookies for over 60 years. She especially enjoyed decorating her front door for each season for the enjoyment of the community. Betty was inducted into the Perry High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame in 2010. She was a founding and charter member and served on the board of the Madison Chamber of Commerce. She was so proud when the Madison/Perry Area Chamber of Commerce awarded the Behm Family Funeral Home Business of the Year in 1996. Betty was a 25 year member and former president of the Madison Public Library Board's present library building and was instrumental in starting the Friends of the Library and the current facility. She was a member of Park United Methodist Church, the Western Reserve Fine Arts, Progress Club, Madison, and Perry and Jefferson Historical Societies. She enjoyed people, traveling, Mr. Swaby's woodworking, reading, bowling, stamp collecting and being positive. Most of all, Gram Behm enjoyed staying in touch with her family and friends. She is survived by many wonderful friends and her children, Valerie A. Behm of Madison, Marcine (Ray) Petrea of Euclid, Michael (Eileen) Behm of Geneva, Timothy (Jeanette) Behm of Madison and Wilford "Ford" (Deborah) Behm II of Geneva; 12 grandchildren, TJ (Dr. Melissa), Kate (Lee), Clinton, Karen (Sarah), Nick, Trevor (Julie), Courtney, Chester, Edward, Frank (Sue), Brenda (Willie) and Deborah (J.R.); 18 great-grandchildren; 4 great-great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews, Debbie, Connie, Linda, David, John, Tom and Jeffery. She was preceded in death by her husband, Wilford; parents; sister, Marjorie Lu Brockway; brothers, John L. Shepard II and Daniel Ralph Shepard; sister-in-law, Rita Shepard, great-grandchildren Thomas Allen Behm and Avery Elizabeth Jenkins.