The Passing of Professor Rick Behr: Updated with service information

The SUNY Broome community mourns the passing of Professor Rick Behr, Chair of the Business Department.

Services will be held on Saturday, July 15, at J.A. McCormack Sons Funeral Home at 141 Main St. in Binghamton. The viewing begins at noon, followed by the memorial service at 2 p.m.

A valued member of SUNY Broome’s Business and Public Services Division nearly 40 years, Professor Behr was a SUNY Broome graduate himself, going on to earn his B.S. and M.B.A. from Binghamton University. He headed the Business Department twice during his long tenure: from 1988 to 2001, and from 2009 to the present.

“I was always impressed with his professionalism and his stalwart courage in the face of his illness,” said SUNY Broome President Kevin E. Drumm. “He was always a delight to interact with.”

Colleagues remembered his unwavering dedication to his students, as well as his collegial nature, unique sense of humor and his ability to create innovative academic programming. Professor Behr was the force behind the creation of SUNY Broome’s highly successful Sports Management degree program.

“Whenever anyone interacted with Rick, they always got the real deal. Whether discussing, hunting, fishing, sports or the academic course schedule, one knew they were going to get his honest perspective and sage advice,” reflected Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer Francis Battisti. “Rick, thank you for all that you have given us.   You will truly be missed.”

Remembering a friend and colleague

Behr had been a student in Professor John Bunnell’s class years ago, and after he was hired by the college in 1978 the two became good friends. They hunted and fished together, and were even partners in a consulting business for a few years, Bunnell remembered.

He recalled the laughter and the good times – and Professor Behr’s dedication to both the college and his students.

“He was very student-focused, and spent much of his time over the years advising and mentoring students, and took pride in their success,” Bunnell said.

Outside the classroom, Behr was devoted to his wife Lisa and their two children, as well as his dogs. An animal-lover, he aided a raccoon in distress once – and ended up getting bit for his efforts, Bunnell said.

Professor Bunnell expects that he’ll remember his friend and former student every snowstorm. It was a tradition of sorts: After every storm, Behr – in Castle Creek – would call his friend Bunnell, in Windsor, to ask how much snow had fallen at his house.

“No matter what I would say, he would say, ‘That’s nothing we got …’ and it would always be more,” Bunnell recalled with a laugh. “He’d always have to one-up it! I could never win.”

One day, Bunnell chanced across a photo he just had to share with Behr – showing a man driving a car with a good four feet of snow piled on the top. He captioned it “Rick Behr coming to work.”

Please feel free to share your memories of Professor Behr by emailing micalejr@sunybroome.edu.