John R. Behre

John R. Behre, 86, blessed by large family, lifelong friendships
John Behre made a life of acquiring friends then embracing each of them like family.
John, 86, died peacefully on Wednesday, April 7, surrounded by family in his Three Bridges, N.J. home. He leaves behind a large family that includes five children, 13 grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and too many lifelong friends to count.
Arrangements were by O’Boyle’s Funeral Home, 309 Broad Street, Bloomfield, N.J. A funeral Mass was at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 60 Byrd Ave., Bloomfield.
Born in Orange, N.J. on April 10, 1934, John cherished his years at Orange High School where he was nicknamed “Human” before graduating in 1952. He held dearly many of those early friendships to his later years in life. He frequently shared memories from his childhood of his uncles going off to serve in World War II. This inspired John’s patriotism and love for his country. He served the U.S. Army shortly after the Korean War and was stationed in Germany. Typical of John, he came home from the Army with another group of friends he’d carry with him for the next several decades.
Meticulous by nature, he found his calling as a tool and die maker, beginning work at Automatic Switch Company in Florham Park. There he would meet his bride, Judith Keane, and they were married in 1958. He would ascend to the position of foreman in the company’s machine shop before retiring in 1996. The couple raised five children and were married 55 years until her death in 2014.
John became actively involved in the youth sports scene in Bloomfield as his children played numerous sports. He coached baseball for many years in the Bloomfield American Babe Ruth League. He also coached in the Bloomfield Pop Warner Football League and the Essex County Baseball League. Earlier, he was a member of the Orange Elks Lodge. John was an avid golfer and enjoyed target shooting to the point he became a marksman in the sport of trapshooting. He also loved to hunt small game.
In 2017, John was honored by Bloomfield’s Watsessing Athletic Club as its Man of the Year. The honor was bestowed “in appreciation for his longtime dedication and commitment to the youth of Bloomfield.” John’s home in Bloomfield was always a gathering place for family, extended family and friends.
John was predeceased by his parents, John R. Behre, Sr and Mary Muldoon Donnelly, and a grandchild, Brian Behre. He is also survived by his brother, George F. Behre of Butler and his wife Norah, his sons Michael J. Behre and his wife Nadine, Robert J. Behre and his wife Kathleen, James Spike Behre and his wife Gina, his daughters Mary Jane Paolella and Jaynellen Behre Jenkins and her husband, Steven Jenkins.
He took great pride in his role as grandfather to Ashley Behre Munoz, Christopher and Billy Behre, Casey and Ryan Behre, Dominic, Christian, Eric and Marisa Paolella, Alexandra and Jaclyn Behre, and Molly and Sally Jenkins. His great grandchildren brought him such joy. They include Destinee, Ashton, Chase, Emma, Jacob, Annabella, and Bradley.
John enjoyed his work at ASCO with his lifelong best friend, Frank Gizzo. They gave each other the title of best man and were godfathers to each other’s sons. Mr. Gizzo died the day before Mr. Behre. John was a friend, coach and mentor to many. Within his generation, he was the eldest cousin and then an uncle in the Behre, Donnelly and Keane families and through these relationships he learned lessons of love and loyalty and then passed them on in every relationship he encountered the rest of his life. You may have known him as John, Bobby, Johnny, The Human, Dad, Coach, JB, Jack, Poppa or Poppy and if you did, you knew you were loved.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Watsessing Athletic Club, c/o Johnston, 58 Warren St. Bloomfield, NJ 07003; or Hunterdon Hospice, 9100 Wescott Drive, Suite 202, Flemington, NJ 08822