Wilhelmine E. Behnken

Published 1:03 pm Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wilhelmine E. Behnken,96, began her new life August 22, 2012.

She was born in New York City on October 5, 1915, to Walter and Ida Pugh.

She received her BA in biology from Adelphi University in 1936 and was employed by Met Life.

She and her husband, John, raised their three children in Nandua on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

Willi created the music programs for Hollies Baptist Church that included choirs for small children, middle school, teens and adults. She started the first Music Festival for the 24 churches in the local Baptist Association, bringing in talent from across the bay in addition to Shore choirs.

She later moved to Newport News, Va., where they were active members of First Baptist Church

During her long life, she blessed others with her gifts as a church organist, historian and Sunday School teacher. She enjoyed genealogy, sewing, reading and classical music.

She is survived by her husband, John; their three children, Kenneth Behnken and his wife, Linda, of Franklin, Va.; Eloise Kaeck of Green Mountain, N.C.; and Connie Rokicki and her husband Glen of Hebron, Conn.; four grandchildren, Rebecca Gauthier and her husband, Kyle, Corbin Behnken and his wife, Deanna, Emily Laguna and her husband, Steve, and Krista Rokicki; four great-grandchildren, Elle Gauthier, Heidi and Kirin Behnken and Desmond Laguna; and a sister, Marjorie Lewis and her husband, Bob, of Montauk, N.Y.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Contributions may be made to the Building Fund of First Baptist Church, 12716 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, Va., 23606, or a charity of your choice.