Fraternity remembers late brother

Cassie Buchman, News Editor

No matter what he was doing, those who knew sophomore business management major Tyler Behnke could count on him to make it a good time.

To the members of his fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, Behnke was known as someone who was never in a bad mood, and a person who was always cracking jokes and making people laugh.

For many members, he was the funniest and most entertaining person they knew.

Whether he was going to class or the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union, or getting ready for Homecoming, members of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity could count on Behnke to deliver his signature phrase: “Oh, it’s lit.”

Duke Smith, a senior finance major and member of Pi Kappa Alpha, said the phrase described anything the fun-loving Behnke was doing.

“(With him,) everything turned into a joke,” Smith said. “He was always up for a good time.”

Behnke, from Oswego, was found dead around 8:48 p.m. Monday in the Pi Kappa Alpha house.

Coles County Coroner Ed Schniers said the cause of his death is still being investigated, but there is no evidence of foul play involved.

Daniel Hernandez, a senior pre-med and psychology major, said the fact Behnke is gone still does not feel real.

“It’s going through waves,” Hernandez said. “We were all hysterical last night; today it’s not real.”

Hernandez said the next few days will be especially surreal.

“He’s the one guy you would never expect anything bad to happen to,” Hernandez said.

The fraternity has reached out to Behnke’s family, who they said are planning services for over Fall Break.

To cope with their grief, members of the fraternity have been remembering jokes and fun times shared with the man who they said was like a brother to them.

“He was that type of person; he wouldn’t want us to be sad and gloomy,” Hernandez said.

Various members of Greek Life have sent the Pi Kappa Alpha men condolence gifts, including food, flowers and cards, as well as support and their condolences on social media.

Jason Munkvold, a sophomore accounting major, remembered watching terrible, one-half star movies on Netflix Behnke would pick out, just for a laugh.

Smith said once, Behnke dragged him out of his room to go get some late-night Steak ‘n Shake with the rest of the group.

“You couldn’t be mad at him,” Hernandez said. “He was just so funny and lovable.”

As recruitment chair for the fraternity last semester, Behnke was able to make potential members feel at home.

Hernandez said all the new guys who came to the fraternity took an immediate liking to Behnke when they met him.

“When guys would come around, they would want to come back just to see him,” Hernandez said.

Munkvold said Behnke was able to have a conversation about anything.

Without him, the members said, the house is left with a hole and is quieter than before.

Tomas Juzas, a sophomore physical therapy major, said things will never be the same without him.


Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]