John "Jack" C. Behrens

February 7, 1933July 16, 2021

John C. “Jack” Behrens of Port Saint Lucie, FL, a former Lancaster, OH native who later lived in Clinton, NY for 51 years, passed away Friday, July 16 at his Florida residence. He was 88.

Over his lifetime, Jack wrote 24 books and more than 25,000 articles, columns and essays. He served as contributing editor to many weekly publications, and was proud of his work for advancing literacy.

He spent 20 years serving as business editor for Elks Magazine, and direct-mail editor of American Printer while teaching at Marshall University and Utica College. He continued writing while fighting Parkinson’s disease in his final years. His last book was a look back over his 66 years of interviews, research and reporting (Recollections of a Journalist, Outskirts Press, 2018).

Jack taught for 40 years before retiring in 1997. He taught American History and Journalism at Ohio Wesleyan University, the University of Maryland/USAF Institute, and Marshall University. At Utica College, he achieved the rank of Professor of Journalism and Public Relations.

Throughout his career, he received several presidential citations from College Media Advisers, Inc. most notably as Director of the Student Press in America Archives. With the assistance of UC librarians, he collected, summarized and made available to researchers worldwide the records on every challenge and controversy related to the student press. For decades, he served as adviser to the Utica College student newspaper.

During his tenure at UC, he became director of the Public Relations and Journalism programs, establishing prominent scholarships to benefit students. Twice elected to serve as chairman of the Raymond Simon Institute for Public Relations, Jack also had the honor of receiving the Outstanding Faculty Award from the UC Alumni Council.

Prior to his teaching career, Jack received his Bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green, and his Master’s from Penn State. He was drafted and sent to Korea (1956-58) assigned to the US Army 7th Infantry, and then to work for the Pacific Stars & Stripes daily in Tokyo, Japan and Seoul, Korea.

In addition to his love for writing and teaching, Jack also had immense appreciation for music. As a drummer, he played with various groups over the years, which ultimately led to his writing about those experiences with the many different Big Band and Jazz artists.

Jack was a dedicated member to his communities. He was a faithful follower of the Missouri Lutheran Synod in NY, and the Grace Lutheran Church in FL. He served nearly 20 years as an elected trustee to the Village of Clinton, NY; was a valued member of the Authors Guild, and of the Rotary Club of Utica, NY.

He was preceded in death by his parents Charles and Dorothy Behrens; his former wife, Patricia (Beaty) Behrens; and brother-in-law James Hietikko.

He is survived by his loving wife Gertrude Behrens; sister, Beverly Hietikko; daughter Cynthia Daugherty and her husband Fred; son Mark Behrens, and wife Nicole; his ‘adopted’ step-children: Joy Karnes Limoge, and husband Edmond; Robert Middlebrook; Richard Middlebrook, and wife Julie; David Middlebrook; as well as many beloved nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and cherished friends.

The family would like to express thanks and appreciation for all who provided support to Jack over the years.

Inurnment will be held at Arlington National Cemetery, and a family memorial service will be held at Grace Lutheran Church in Port St. Lucie (555 SW Cashmere Blvd) on August 14, 2021 at 2 pm EST.

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers a donation be made to the ‘John C. Behrens Scholarship’. To make a gift online (, and/or mail a check to: Utica College Advancement; 1600 Burrstone Rd.; Utica, NY 13502.


  • Memorial Service

    Saturday, August 14, 2021


John "Jack" C. Behrens

have a memory or condolence to add?

Dave Dudajek

August 14, 2021

In 1970 I decided to take Jack's "Newswriting" course. After several assignments, he came to me after class one day and asked whether I ever considered writing as a career. I said "no." He said, "You should." Thanks to Jack's encouragement, I spent 47 years as a reporter and editor, a career I cherished. Dave Dudajek, Class of '72.

James Asher

July 21, 2021

Prof. Behrens was my professor at Utica College. His impact on my career was substantial. I
owe him many thanks for his influence. Jack was a mentor. I will be forever grateful.

Gary and Jeanne LaBella

July 21, 2021

We have wonderful memories of our years at Utica College in the 1970s with Professor Behrens. He taught us, guided us and motivated us, and we both ended up spending our entire careers utilizing the writing and other skills he gave us. He was a lifetime friend who had a tremendous impact on our careers and lives.
We will miss him and remember him forever.