Michael John Behr, Past President of Seasalter Golf Club has died aged 71 after a short illness.
He was a somewhat eccentric character with his very own style of dress and welcomed wherever he went.
A member of the Golf Club since childhood he was as much at home there as anywhere. He became Captain in 2007 and a few years later went on to become the 10th President from 2009 – 14. An incredibly intelligent man he was unsurpassable when dealing with the legalities of the club, updating the rules in his meticulous manner, no small task, and always on hand to advise on appropriate wording sent out from the office.
A good club golfer Michael liked to keep fit in other ways, frequently running down to Thanet and back and succeeded in completing two London marathons.
Michael was born on 23rd September 1947 in Beckenham, Kent. His mother was from an old Whitstable family and in 1951 the family moved to West Cliff, Whitstable.
Michael began his education at Miss Lamb’s Nursery School, went on to St Alphege Infants School and then to Whitstable Collegiate School in Nelson Road. At the age of 10, he began boarding at Grenham House in Birchington, and thereafter to St Lawrence College, Ramsgate.
The Golf Club became a big part of the family’s life and when Michael became captain he was following in his father’s footsteps. Both Michael and his older sister Josie played as children, Josie being Junior Captain, but Michael the better golfer. In those days it was five shillings a year for children. There was a corner of the Clubhouse where players left clubs they no longer wanted for the Juniors to help themselves. Ever after Michael was a great supporter of the Junior section with both encouragement and financial help, regularly generously contributing to Junior Captain’s Day
For many years he ran his own business in London and was very highly regarded by his loyal staff despite the fact that they found him decidedly irritating when venturing out of his office to offer advice and to move things around which had already been sorted.
They were, however, overwhelmed by his generosity to charity with tales of his contributions to disadvantaged children’s group holidays in Pilton, Somerset, what is now the home of the Glastonbury Festival. Michael was also a good listener and if they were in difficulties he listened and looked to provide practical help as in the case when the NHS waiting list was too long for a much-needed operation, Michael funded private health care.
London was not the only place to benefit, the Club Captain’s charity was always indebted to him for his work, diligently seeking golf vouchers from other clubs in Kent to be bid for by Seasalter members to go towards the chosen charity, and always donating generously to fundraising events.
Michael’s wit and talent for speech-making made him an entertainer worthy of any professional, and his creation of ‘Little Captain’, a ventriloquists dummy dressed immaculately in mini captains attire, was something that had to be seen to be believed. He spent several years at Christmas as the most popular Father Christmas at the annual children’s party and then went on to write a most endearing children’s book called “What Jak Saw” with all the proceeds being donated to charity.
An avid Telegraph reader Michael would daily complete both cryptic crosswords and was invariably at the winners’ table on wine and wisdom evenings.
Michael John Behr 1947 – 2019