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Obituary: Shirley Behm

Shirley Behm, 80, of Esko passed away peacefully Nov. 19, 2023, at Abbott Northwestern Hospital with her family by her side. She was born June 13, 1943, to Neil and Ailie Koskela in Cloquet. She was a 1961 graduate of Cloquet High School and went on to attain her diploma later that same year from Wanner’s School of Beauty Culture. Shirley was united in marriage to Walter Behm of Fond du Lac, Minnesota on Nov. 24, 1962, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Cloquet.

Shirley worked as a bookkeeper for several area businesses over the years. She will be remembered for her beautiful smile as well as being a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, cousin and friend. She was passionate about her family and loved ones, and liked hosting family dinners and get-togethers. She was very proud and supportive of her three sons and grandchildren’s accomplishments, be it sports, music, performing arts or their jobs in general. Throughout the years many weekends were spent on camping and fishing trips with family and friends. For the past 13 years, Shirley and Walt were snowbirds in Casa Grande, Arizona, where they developed long-lasting friendships. There she took on the role as treasurer of the Fairways Activities Committee. Shirley also liked to participate in water aerobics and loved to socialize over coffee, cards and conversations with friends. Most of all, she enjoyed being away from the cold Minnesota winters.

She was preceded in death by her father, Neil Koskela; mother, Ailie (Siltanen) Koskela; and brother, Melvin Koskela.

Shirley is survived by her husband of 61 years, Walter Behm; sister-in-law, Frances Koskela; sons, Curtis (Jona), Rodney (Julie), and Thomas; grandchildren, Catherine, Stella, Brianna (Scott), Connor (Kalynn), Cayson, Kaz (Lydia), and Kallen (Dayna); and five great-grandchildren.

Visitation: 12 p.m. until the 1 p.m. memorial service on Dec. 16 at St. Matthews Lutheran Church, 4 Elizabeth Ave., Esko. Light lunch to follow.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the St. Matthews Memorial Committee Fund.

Arrangements entrusted to Atkins-Northland Funeral Home, 801 14th St., Cloquet. To sign the guest book and leave an online tribute, see http://www.atkinsnorthlandfuneralhome.com.

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