Welcome to the memorial page for

Lucille "Lu" Behnke

January 30, 1924 ~ April 10, 2017 (age 93)

Lucille “Lu” (Massa) Behnke died peacefully in her home at Brookdale Assisted Living in Napa on April 10, 2017.

She was born on January 30, 1924 in Mulberry, Kansas, daughter of Victor and Mary (Peppina) Massa.  She moved to Battle Creek, Michigan after high school graduation in 1942. 

She married Reinold “Ryan” Behnke on March 29, 1952 at Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Joseph Michigan.  After two years in Santa Monica, CA they moved back to Bidwell Street, then Morningside Drive in Battle Creek, MI.

Lucille was employed by the Battle Creek Public Schools for 28 years; seven years in the Administration Offices, two years at Ann. J Kellogg School and 19 years at Coburn School as Secretary. 

Lu and Ryan moved to Napa, CA in August 2005 and is preceded by husband Ryan who passed away on April 13, 2008 in Napa, CA.  She is survived by her two daughters, Debra Phairas of Napa and San Francisco CA and Karen Behnke Luria, husband Howard Luria, MD, grandchildren Jake and Rachel Luria of San Anselmo CA who lovingly called her the Italian name “Nonni”, brothers Richard Massa of Pittsburg, Kansas, John and Robert Massa, Mulberry, KS, Norma Bezinque, Mulberry KS and Dorothy Matthews of Frontenac, KS. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, Victor and Mary Massa, brothers Tony and Vic Massa of Battle Creek, MI and sister, Rita Leist of Arcadia, KS.

Lu was an avid golfer, lucky enough to score a hole in one, and loved dancing, playing cards, crossword puzzles and volunteering at the reception desk with the Battle Creek Health System, and subsequently Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa.

She was a long time member of Riverside Country Club, serving as President of the Ladies Organization and two terms as the first female on the Board of Directors.  Lu was active in Coburn PTA and served as President of the Pre-School Mothers Group, member of          Westlake Presbyterian Church in Battle Creek where she served as Deacon, Sunday school teacher and Sunday School Secretary and subsequently joined Covenant Presbyterian Church in Napa, CA. 

A memorial service will be held at the Richard A. Henry Funeral Home on April 26th at 1:00pm, followed by burial at Fort Custer National Cemetery and a reception at Riverside Country Club 3-6pm.  The family requests in lieu of flowers, donations to Collabria Care Hospice of Napa, CA or Westlake Presbyterian Battle Creek, MI.  Condolences may be left for the family at       






 Service Information

Memorial Service
April 26, 2017

1:00 PM
Richard A. Henry Funeral Home & Cremation Services
703 Capital Avenue SW
Battle Creek, MI 49015

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