W. George Benavitz Jr.
Lt. Col. William George Benavitz Jr. (U.S. Army ret.), 84, quietly passed away in his sleep
Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008, after a long struggle with failing health.
Born Sept. 24, 1924, in Honolulu, Hawaii, to William and Virginia Benavitz, George grew up in Hawaii and Oakland, Calif., under the guidance of his grandmother, Georgina Benavitz, and his uncle, Alfred Benavitz. He graduated from Alameda High School in 1942, and shortly thereafter he volunteered for service in the United States Army, where he served during World War II with the 504th PIR, 82nd Airborne Division, participating in every major campaign, and was combat-wounded twice while fighting in Holland in 1944.
After achieving the Army enlisted rank of Master Sergeant, Lt. Col. Benavitz received a battlefield commission during the Korean War. He completed 26 years of service with the U.S. Army, retiring in 1970. His military decorations included the Bronze Star Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, the Purple Heart with one Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Meritorious Service Medal. He was a Master Parachutist. George held many additional awards from the U.S. Army and foreign governments for his service in Europe, the Middle East, Korea, Africa, and Alaska. He was a graduate of the University of Nebraska.
After retiring from U.S. Army and the American National Red Cross, George and his first wife, Eunice, made Pinehurst their home in 1981. He enjoyed many years of golf and leisure while he continued to serve his community as a volunteer leader with Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, the North Carolina Army Retirees Council, the Sandhills Food Bank, Moore Regional Hospital, and the Sandhills Chapter of the Retired Officers Association, and a member of Our Saviour Lutheran Church.
He is survived by his wife, Laura Swank Benavitz, of Southern Pines; daughter and son-in-law, Penelope and Andre Muelenaer of Roanoke, Va.; son and daughter-in-law, William C. and Rosemary Benavitz, of Naples, Fla.; stepdaughter and son-in-law, Mary and Ed Brown of Richmond, Va.; eight grandchildren, Allison Lauterberg, Neal Brown, Matthew Muelenaer, Brian Muelenaer, Caroline Muelenaer, Alex Benavitz, Evan Benavitz, and Mary Grace Benavitz.
George was predeceased by his first wife, Eunice Wrench Benavitz in 1995 and a stepson, James E. Johnson in 1957.
Service will take place at Our Saviour Lutheran Church, 1517 Luther Way Southern Pines, Saturday, Oct. 18 at 2 p.m., followed by graveside services at Pinelawn Memorial Park with full military honors. Family will receive visitors at Boles Funeral Home Friday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. A reception will be held at Our Saviour Lutheran Church following the graveside service.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers memorial gifts be sent to Our Saviour Lutheran Church, 1517 Luther Way, Southern Pines, NC 28387.
Special thanks go out to all of the wonderful people at Elmcroft of Southern Pines who made the last five months especially comfortable for George, and the staff at Pinehurst Medical Clinic and Moore Regional Hospital whose dedication is unsurpassed. Greg Blakely, M.D., is a true physician, dedicated to his patients, and a credit to his profession. Glenda Raible has shown extraordinary compassion and dedication to George and Laura over the past several years and has added richness and quality to their lives.
A "Devil in Baggy Pants" has rejoined his beloved 504th PIR.
Arrangements by Boles Funeral Home of Southern Pines.
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