Fundraiser Collects Thousands for 'Jersey Journal' Columnist's Funeral

By: Joe Strupp Although Ahn Behrens only wrote for The Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J. as a weekly freelancer, her highlights on local arts, culture and entertainment were as sought after as any news in the paper, according to colleagues. So when her death was reported last week, a call went out for donations to help defray funeral costs -- and numerous friends/fans handed over the necessary funds.

Behrens' husband, Peter Bill, said he raised several thousand dollars during a Monday fundraiser at a local restaurant that covered cremation costs. Saying only that Behrens was in her 50s, Bill said it is believed she died of liver failure, but he's awaiting further tests.

He was not shy about noting that the couple's finances, limited with her part-time work and his limited income as an artist, were too strapped to pay the funeral costs.

"We didn't have any money," Bill told E&P Friday. The couple had operated a local gallery, but were forced to close in 2000 after seven years due to economics.

The Journal was not directly involved in the fundraiser, Managing Editor Margaret Schmidt said. But several staffers attended and the daily published an item last weekend to promote the event.

"I didn't realize she knew that many people," Bill said of the turnout. In an obituary published Saturday, Schmidt said "Ahn's followers have come to depend on her for tips on what's new and worth a visit."


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