Ricky Ray Behrend passed away peacefully on Monday, December 28, 2020 after a valiant and hard-fought battle with pancreatic cancer.
Ricky was born in Houston, Texas June 30, 1954, the second child to Ruby and Herbert Behrend. His parents were some of the first residents of West University Place, the place where he would happily call home his entire life.
With a strong German-Lutheran ancestry and upbringing, he was baptized and confirmed at St. Matthew Lutheran Church. Later in life, he joined St. Luke’s United Methodist Church and remained faithful in his walk with the Lord.
Ricky graduated from Lamar High School in 1972 where he played guard for the Varsity basketball team. At a height of 6’4”, he had a natural ability and talent for the sport, averaging 19 points per game. After considering several university offers, he accepted a full scholarship to play basketball at UT-Arlington.
In 1974, Ricky transferred to Rice University and graduated with a BS in Managerial Studies. After graduation, he helped his father with his home construction business while completing post graduate studies in Accounting at the University of Houston. He was proud to begin his banking career at Texas Commerce Bank under the leadership of Ben Love, whom he greatly admired. While at “TCB”, Ricky was Senior Vice-President in Commercial lending and later Capital Markets. His career continued at various financial institutions until his retirement.
During college he met and married Andrea Harms. They would go on to be married 29 years and share two children together, Kyle Harms and Rachel Elaine (“Lainey”).
Ricky was an avid fisherman who, throughout his life, sought the elusive trophy catch. He loved to fish his “secret” spots in Baffin Bay and sleep on his boat under the stars. Later he traveled to the seeming ends of the Earth in Tierra del Fuego and British Columbia to broaden his fishing experience. It was his true passion.
Being a grandfather was the highlight of his life! Between his son and daughter, he had nine (soon to be 10) grandchildren, and all but one, girls. He amusingly referred to his daughter’s four young children as “the village”. They knew him as funny, loud and goofy Grandpa.
He was involved with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Wine Committee for 15 years and had recently received his Lifetime Committeeman Badge. He also enjoyed the friendships and fellowship at the Coronado Club.
Ricky’s beloved black Labradors were his pride and joy. He took great care in fostering their championship lineage through multiple litters of puppies and training them to be the next National Field Trial Champion.
In 2010, Ricky met his match when he was introduced to Rene at a Halloween party. Being from the UK, Rene was unsure what to make of this big Texas “cowboy”. After traveling across the Atlantic many times to meet, they married in 2014 and enjoyed years of joy, laughter, travel and adventure. Rene was his true guardian angel, standing steadfastly by him with love, care, and support throughout his cancer battle.
Ricky relished his time spent improving his family’s farm in Fedor, TX. He was famous (or infamous) around Lee County, always holding court in Fedor where he was loved and respected by everyone. Amazingly, he continued to work at the farm throughout his chemo treatments until his energies failed him.
Ricky could light up a room with his joie de vie and natural ability to enlighten and lift everyone’s spirit. His larger-than-life presence and keen sense of humor and fun will be remembered fondly by all who knew him.
He is preceded in death by his father, Herbert Immanuel Behrend, in 1996; his mother, Ruby Jatzlau Behrend, in 2015; and his sister, Barbara Jane Keller, in 2011.
Ricky is survived by his loving wife, Rene; son Kyle Harms Behrend, wife Sarah and children Madeleine Viviann Behrend, Juliette Marie Behrend, Caroline Elaine Behrend, Joseph Bruce Harms Behrend, Felicity Kate Behrend and soon-to-arrive Philippa Joan Rae Behrend; daughter Rachel Behrend Seidel, husband Sam and children Margaret Louise Seidel, Barbara Clee Seidel, Susan Harms Seidel, and Mary Elaine Elizabeth Seidel. He is also survived by his nephew Larry Earl Keller, wife Paula and their children; niece Lois Elaine Keller-Nelson; nephew Porter DeLorraine Keller, wife Christy and their children; maternal aunt Francis Jatzlau Beauchamp; paternal aunts Anita Markwardt and Gloria Stengel.
The family deeply thanks the doctors and nurses at M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital for their care throughout his treatment, particularly his oncologist Dr. Robert Wolff, as well as the Houston Hospice nurses who provided comfort and peace in his final days at home.
The family will receive friends, Sunday, January 3, 2021, two until five o'clock in the afternoon at Bradshaw-Carter. A funeral service will be held on January 4, 2021 at eleven o'clock in the Sanctuary of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 3471 Westheimer Road, Houston, Texas 77027. Dr. Tom Pace will officiate. Social distancing will be observed and masks required. For those of you that can not attend due COVID-19, please visit https://www.stlukesmethodist.org/memorial-livestream-3/ to watch the livestream and view the guest book.
Memorial donations can be made to St. Luke’s Day School, P.O. Box 22013 Houston, TX 77227; or to Houston Hospice, 1905 Holcombe Blvd., Houston TX 77030.