James Gordon Benoit Sr.
June 22, 1925 – October 8, 2019
The Yakima Valley lost a true legend Oct. 8, 2019. James Gordon Benoit Sr. passed away peacefully at the age of 94 with his son Jim Jr. and wife Lisa by his side. Jim was born June 22, 1925 in Yakima, WA to Frederick and Anna Benoit. Jim, a devout Catholic, attended St. Joseph Grade School and Marquette High School.
After high school in 1943, Jim enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He served in the 3rd Amphibious Corps, formerly the 1st Marine Division. Due to Dad’s mental and physical strength, and qualifying expert in rifle and pistol, he was selected to be a Marine Raider of the 3rd Amphibious Corps. Dad made seven amphibious assaults on islands in the South Pacific. Guadalcanal, Kwajalein and Guam, to name a few, were some of the islands Dad and his brothers in arms took while meeting heavy resistance from the Japanese. Dad was set to go in the first wave to mainland Japan when the U.S. dropped the atom bombs on Japan. The 3rd Amphib was then set to liberate northern China from the Japanese, Dad said that it took three months to disarm the Japanese. “They were not very cooperative.” During Dad’s two years in combat, he was promoted to Corporal.
When Dad returned from the war, he met and married the love of his life, Dorothy Hoffman. Mom said, “I saw your dad coming down the sidewalk to his parents’ home in his dress blues, and I told everyone that’s the man I’m going to marry!” Together they had four children and 61 faithful years together until Mom passed away in 2011.
Dad had his own fish market, Aleutian Seafoods, but was convinced to try sign sales. Dad worked for Heath Northwest sign company for years as a division manager of sales, Dad was always the top salesman, year after year, winning many awards. Dad said he had a wonderful boss, James Smith.
From the time Dad was three, up until his passing, he was admired for his strength and athleticism. To train for football in high school, he would go to his relative’s farms in the summer and pull the plow, instead of the horse. His siblings, throughout the years, would talk about Dad’s physical and mental strength and his faith in God and country.
Dad went both ways on ice skates, playing pro hockey and at the same time skating in ice shows on figure skates. Often he pair-skated with Suzy Benoit. Dad also excelled in handball, playing the nationals 5 times. Dad held many local and state titles, but the one that Dad talked about most was his brother Larry and him becoming the state master doubles champions, Dad was in his 60s. “Never bet against the Benoit brothers,” was a common statement at tournaments.
Dad spent the last 30 years of his life helping those less fortunate. He made hundreds of children’s dreams come true at Christmas. He never turned down a person in need.
Dad was preceded in death by his wife, parents and 12 siblings. He is survived by his four children, David (Heidi) Benoit, Michel (Horatio) Slawson, James Jr. (Lisa) Benoit, MaryAnn (Ed) Shildmeyer; younger brother Larry, numerous cousins, nephews, nieces, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Dad feared nothing or any man. He was a Marine ‘til the end. A man like him comes along but once in a lifetime and I am so glad it was in my lifetime, as I am sure so many are, whose lives were touched by him.
Semper Fi, Dad. You are a true hero and legend.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Lynchpin, a local, non-profit serving the children and teens of Yakima. (His grandson Shay works there.) Also, donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project. Dad was passionate about helping children and wounded veterans.
Visitation will be Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019 from 4-8 pm at Keith & Keith Funeral Home with Vigil at 6 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Paul Cathedral, Thursday, Oct. 17 at 10 am followed by a graveside service at Calvary Cemetery.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.keithandkeith.com.
Dad was preceded in death by his wife, parents and 12 siblings.
He is survived by his four children, David (Heidi) Benoit, Michel (Horatio) Slawson, James Jr. (Lisa) Benoit, MaryAnn (Ed) Shildmeyer; younger brother Larry, numerous cousins, nephews, nieces, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
- Dennis Jones
- Ken Rose
- Jim Peterson
- Shay Rutherford
- Jeff Liston
- Ron Raddas
- Michael Kane, Honorary
- Owen Kane, Honorary
- Benjamin Hittle, Honorary
- In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Lynchpin, a local, non-profit serving the children and teens of Yakima. (His grandson Shay works there.) Also, donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project.
- Visitation Wednesday, October 16, 2019
- Vigil Service Wednesday, October 16, 2019
- Mass of Christian Burial Thursday, October 17, 2019
- Graveside Service Thursday, October 17, 2019
James Gordon Benoit Sr.
October 23, 2019
I just recently learned of my Uncle Jimmy's passing, and I wanted to extend to my cousins my most sincere condolences. I did not know of his passing until Uncle Larry passed away and heard it through other cousins. While I had not seen Jimmy in a while, my late Dad (Gene) spoke so highly of him. I still have the wedding gift he and your mom gave me and use it so often (A big wooden salad bowl that I love). Please know my thoughts are with you. Moya Benoit Thompson (Alice and Gene's daughter)
October 17, 2019
Jim was my mentor and my friend. I'm sad to see him go. He will forever live in my heart.
October 16, 2019
I was 19 and went to the 2nd floor of the Y to lift weights when seeing Jim Senior adjusting his white converse high tops. He said those magic words...."Are you ready to play a mans game" His playful whit and strong spirit won the hearts and minds of many and from that day forward I never looked back. If there is a handball heaven....Jim is sitting in the front row with a big smile on his face and waiting to play ! "The end of a journey is but the doorway to another"
October 13, 2019
so sorry for your loss. you are in our prayers.
October 13, 2019
One of my fondest memories is the road trip in 1976 that Senior, Junior and I took to the National Handball Championships in Las Vegas!
Mary Kay Hage
October 12, 2019
Lots of warm memories of 'Uncle Jimmy' as a child.. Condolences to all of the family.
October 12, 2019
Senior will be missed. having had the privilidge to have been taught Handball by him I learned both sports and life lessons. He was one of the good guys. My condolences to the Benoit family.
“Never apologize for doing the right thing, telling the truth, or looking good”