Joe W.G. Behlau was born April 13, 1923 in Rochester, New York to Walter George Behlau and Mable (Knapp) Behlau. He died Feb. 7, 2019.
Funeral service will be held Feb. 13 at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Lampasas. Burial will be in Davis Cemetery near Briggs.
Visitation will be Feb. 12 from 5-7 p.m. at Sneed Funeral Chapel.
Joe was the second of four children; their mother died at the birth of the last. The children were raised by their father and grandmother who was born in Germany.
Joe’s father lost his nursery business during the Great Depression, and the children sold their grandmother’s baked goods door to door. Their father eventually got a job as manager of the nursery department at Sears-Roebuck.
Often, as many as three families of relatives lived in a house together, pooling their resources. Joe spent most days at the nearest WPAbuilt swimming pool. Before entering the ninth grade, he won the Rochester Junior Diving Championship. When he attended West High School in Rochester, he was twice recognized in the National Inter-Scholastic Guide as an All-American diver.
During World War II, Joe volunteered for the Army Air Corps where he flew as a navigator. At the end of the war, he had attained the rank of captain in the United States Air Force. He was awarded an Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf clusters and a Purple Heart for injuries sustained while flying 35 missions over Germany.
Joe was discharged in 1947 and entered Washington State College on a swimming scholarship. Then in 1951 after having completed one semester at Gonzaga Law School in Spokane, Washington, he was recalled to the Air Force for service during the Korean War.
While instructing at Randolph Field in San Antonio in 1952, he met and married Bobbye Alexander from Lampasas.
He was discharged again at the rank of lieutenant colonel in the reserves and remained in the reserves until he retired in 1983.
He finished his Bachelor of Science at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and started another career as a golf professional. That career included building several facilities and designing one.
In 2005, the Behlaus retired in Lampasas where they have attended St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and promoted the Lampasas County Museum and Preservation Lampasas group.
Joe was a life member of the Professional Golf Association, a charter member of the WWII Memorial in Louisiana, a member of the Purple Heart Association in San Antonio and the American Legion in Lampasas.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Bobbye Alexander Behlau.
He is survived by his son, Robert Alexander Behlau of Aquilla, Texas, and by nephews Edward Behlau of Arlington, Texas and Jerry Behlau of Rochester, New York.
Donations may be sent to the PGA drive, chip and putt program or to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Lampasas.