PARSIPPANY — Gerald ‘Jerry’ Behnke, 53, passed away peacefully on June 4, at his home, surrounded by his family.
Jerry was born in Paterson and moved to Parsippany early in his life. He began his career as a paramedic in 1988, before becoming a Police Officer for the City of Paterson in 1996. He ultimately transferred to the Fire Department in 1998, where he proudly served for almost 25 years.
Jerry served as a devoted President of the Paterson Firefighters Association Local 2, Vice President of the Paterson Firefighters Relief Association, a Board Member of the Paterson Boys and Girls Club, and a Member of the Critical Incident Stress Management Response Team of New Jersey.
In 2015, Jerry received the Life Saving Award from the New Jersey State FMBA. Additionally, throughout the course of his career, Jerry was an 11-time recipient of Valor Awards from various organizations including the NJ State FMBA, FMBA Local 2, the Passaic County 200 Club.
In his spare time, there was nothing more rewarding to him than coaching for the Parsippany PAL Redhawk football program, as well as a manager/coach of the Par-Troy East Little League baseball program. When he wasn’t coaching, he could be found riling up the crowd and cheering on the kids in the stands. Not only was he a coach, and devoted father, but he touched many lives, and would help at a moment’s notice if anyone needed him. There was nothing more important to him than family, friends, and serving the community for his entire life. His boys will always remember Jerry as their hero.
Jerry is survived by his beloved wife, Suzanne (nee-Cooper), their three children: Gerald Behnke III, 21, Jarrett Behnke, 13, and Jake Behnke, 11 and his God Children Chloe Kelly and Najee Smith. Devoted son of Gerald Behnke “Bebop” and the late Patricia Behnke “Mema”. Jerry is also survived by his sister, Patricia Brinck and her husband, Bennet, as well as their children, Scott, Brett, and Jenna; his mother-in-law, Margery Cooper “Nan”; his brother-in-law, Michael Cooper and his wife, Sharon, their son Eric; as well as his brother-in-law, James Cooper, and his children, Ryan and Julia.
Due to the unprecedented times, there will be a limited Funeral Service on Thursday, June 11. Following the service, a funeral procession will be led by the Paterson Fire Department from Par-Troy Funeral Home to Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Totowa where Jerry will be laid to rest. If you are interested in joining in the procession to honor Jerry escorting him to his final resting place. Please know when arriving at the graveside, you will need to remain in your vehicles.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Paterson Firefighters Foundation (Toy Drive) 300 McBride Avenue, Paterson, NJ 07501, or to the Parsippany PAL (in the memo section note Football – Jerry Behnke) 33 Baldwin Road, Parsippany, NJ 07054 would be greatly appreciated.