Leland Behnken

Leland Behnken, 96, Galesburg, formerly of Altona, passed away at 7:40 a.m. Wednesday July 20, 2022, at his home. 

He was born February 26, 1926, in Willisville, Illinois, the son of Ernest and Lois (Wilson) Behnken.  He married Ann Lou McHatton on October 4, 1952, in Marissa, Illinois. They had 64 wonderful years together.  She preceded him in death on May 7, 2016.

Leland is survived by his two daughters, Nancy (David) Erickson of Altona and Mary Durham of Chicago; three grandchildren, Elizabeth (Andy) Leming, Katherine (Ben) Whetstone and Adam Erickson; and three great grandchildren, Zella Leming, Delaney and Joanna Whetstone.  He is also survived by a brother, Rolland Behnken, Kansas City, a niece and nephews.

Leland graduated from high school in 1943 at the age of 17.  He enlisted in the Air Force and served on Guam in the South Pacific with the 32nd Weather Squadron attached to the 20th Air Force.  He returned home in 1948 and enrolled at Washington University in 1949.  Leland graduated in three years while working full time for a frozen food company.  He continued working for that company after graduation.

In the late 50’s he left the food business and began farming with his father and working with his wife and father-in–law in land management. Leland and Ann moved to the Altona area in 1969 and started farming full-time. 

He was actively involved in the United Church of Altona, the Corn Growers Association and the Lions Club. In their retirement years, Ann and Leland spent the winters in Florida and their summers in Galesburg.  They also traveled all over the world. 

His family would like to thank the wonderful staff at Western Illinois Home Health who cared for him the past two years and Hospice Compassus for their help and care the past six months. 

Visitation will be from 1:00-2:00 pm Monday July 25, 2022, with the service to follow at 2:00 p.m. at Hinchliff-Pearson-West Galesburg Chapel Galesburg.  Burial will be in the Oneida Cemetery with Military Honors.  Memorials may be made to the Galesburg Community Foundation or Altona Lions Club. Online condolences may be made at

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