OBITUARY

Stephen J Benz Jr.

July 9, 1923January 16, 2020
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Stephen J. Benz Jr, 96, of Palm Harbor, Florida passed away peacefully on January 16, 2020 surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Kansas City, Missouri.

During World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and became a Naval Aviator flying missions during World War II. Prior to the end of World War II, he went to Officer Candidate School and became a Naval Officer. At the end of World War II, he returned to civilian life where he worked several jobs until he was called back to active duty with the Navy at the beginning of the Korean conflict. After Korea, he returned to civilian life but maintained his Naval Aviator status as a Naval Reservist. He flew various assignments including Anti- Submarine warfare during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In the civilian world he was a sales manager for Tension Envelope Corporation for almost 30 years obtaining several U.S. Patents for the company. In his leisure time, he was an avid golfer and was a civilian volunteer with the local Police Department.

Stephen was married to the love of his life, the former Santina Marie Pollaro for 69 years until her passing in 2017. He is survived by his son, Stephen J. Benz III (Joni) of Olathe, Kansas and his daughter Teresa Keefer (Brian) of Tampa, Florida. He is also survived by his sister Frances Hall of Leawood, Kansas, 4 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild.

A visitation will be held on Friday, January 31, 2020 in the Blount & Curry Funeral Home- Oldsmar Chapel, 6802 Silvermill Drive, Tampa, Florida 33635 from 10:30am -12:30pm. Interment to follow in Florida National Cemetery at 2:30pm with full Military Naval Honors.

In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Wounded Warrior Project in Steve's honor would be appreciated.

Services

  • Visitation Friday, January 31, 2020
  • Graveside Service Friday, January 31, 2020

Memories

Stephen J Benz Jr.

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Teresa Benz Keefer

January 30, 2020

I wrote in my high school yearbook a line from To Sir with Love. It said how do you thank someone who's taken you from crayons to perfume it isn't easy but I'll try. Dad as you were laying there in your final days you took me by the hand and told me that you had been holding my hand my whole life. And now I have to let it go. I take your wedding ring with me so I can slip it on and feel like I'm holding your hand still. I will miss the strong, intelligent, brave man that I've known my whole life and who has known me like no other can. You were there to save me when I ran out in the middle of the street , to cheer me on when I participated in things as a child. You even hung my third-place ribbon on your workbench because you were so proud of me for winning that in a hippity hop ball contest in elementary school. You taught me how to do wiring and plumbing as I would lay down next to you watching you do it when I was a little girl. You would drive the drive to college just to pick me up when a boyfriend knocked me down. You were quick with a smile or to be a silly Grandpa. It was my pleasure and honor to spend all those days by your side. It is my prayer that when my time comes you will be there to greet me as I transition to the Gates of Heaven. I will miss your hugs and kisses everyday. Daddy your little girl loves you.

Kristen Turner

January 28, 2020

I miss you Papaw. I can scroll through these photos and see you wearing your bomber jacket, put it on, and feel like you are giving me a hug all over again. No one can take your place in my heart. Thank you for living the inspiring life you did, for loving us all so fiercely, and for holding our hands every step of the journey together. I love you.

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