Co-founder of Behlen Manufacturing dies

by Emily Wilson
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COLUMBUS, NEBRASKA, U.S. — Gilbert (Gib) Behlen, the last survivor of the family quartet that built Behlen Manufacturing Co., died March 9. He was 93.

Together with brothers Walt and Mike and their father, Fred, the family began the company in their garage in Columbus, Nebraska in 1936, manufacturing husking hooks. Behlen's early designs for steel-toe caps and egg-crate lid clamps paved the way for its future in grain storage systems and metal buildings.

Gilbert Behlen became vice-president and treasurer of Behlen Manufacturing Co. when it incorporated in 1946. He remained in the post until the family sold its interests in 1969 to Wickes Corp.

A group of Behlen executives led by A.F. (Tony) Raimondo, Behlen's current chairman and chief executive officer, bought the company in 1984.

Behlen is now a world-wide supplier and manufacturer of metal buildings, livestock equipment, and grain storage, drying and handling equipment.

Gib Behlen is survived by his second wife, Rosalie; daughter Sharon Caley; sons Kurt and Rodney; sisters Frances (Billie) Brakel and Ruby Wilken; and 34 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife, three brothers, three sisters and his parents.