Jon Clark Benke

May 18, 1948February 15, 2021

Jon Clark Benke was born on May 18, 1948 in Detroit, Michigan and passed away on February 15, 2021 in LeRoy Township, Michigan and is under the care of Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes.

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Jon Clark Benke

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Angela Curtis

March 4, 2021

Mr. Benke was my sixth grade math teacher. I do not remember the math, but I remember the teacher: kind, smiling, enthusiastic! A real blessing for nervous learners.

Mr. Benke was also my junior varsity softball coach, and nothing could have made the game more fun than watching him drop an indicator sign in the middle of a flurry of hands signals. He was calm when calm was needed and leaping on the bench, arms flying, when it was time to cheer.

My deepest condolences to family and friends Mr. Benke left behind. He was a truly a great person. I am blessed to have met him.

Ingrid Yarbrough

February 21, 2021

Jane, I just read the obituary in the Lansing State Journal today 2-21-2021. What a shock and so unexpected. My sympathies and condolences to especially you and your family. You are in my thoughts.

Molly Carney

February 20, 2021

I had the distinct pleasure of teaching with Clark at Williamston Elementary School. As a teacher, I know we aren't suppose to say we have favorite students and that probably holds the same for favorite colleagues, yet Clark was one of my favorite. He was always so kind with a smile and a positive greeting. He was a great role model as an excellent teacher and colleague. Being a new teacher, he was someone I looked up to. I am so sorry for the family's loss. My heart is heavy for all of you. Clark was both a wonderful educator and human: human first! RIP Mr. Benke.

Andrea George

February 20, 2021

Clark started out as my teacher. He later became a coworker and then a sweet friend. Clark was remarkable at seeing the best in others as well as having fun in all that he did. He was additionally a master of keeping it real. He was genuinely interested in the lives of those around him. He was also willing to get his hands dirty even after retirement by jumping into ridiculous yet fun teacher skits at fifth grade camp, sword fighting with students during our school musicals and even taking a moment to show me the real way to do the waltz during the play rehearsals. I will sincerely miss his engaging conversations, enthusiasm toward the MSU Spartans as well as his on-going sharing of Hershey Kisses. I will miss this sweet man, and I am certain that I will smile every time I see a Hersey Kiss in thoughts of him.

Gina Rios

February 20, 2021

I had the pleasure of working with Clark every summer at Kids College for the past 15 years. His kindness, humor, and passion for teaching kids made working together such a joy and the impact that he had on kids was so truly inspiring. My heart goes out to his family. Sending lots of love and prayers. ❤️

Alicia Veliz

February 20, 2021

I loved him he was my fith grade teacher one of the best I had!!! R.I.P Mr. Benke there will never be another one like you...

Julie Turner

February 19, 2021

So grateful for the many very real ways you have invested in my life and those of so many others! Thank you for going above and beyond. Forever appreciative.

Kerry Pugh

February 19, 2021

Coach ...
Im still finding it impossible to wrap my head around this. I still feel like it isn't real. You were one of my indestructibles, so full of energy and life. Ya know, one of those people that is untouchable by anything bad.
Your charisma was unmatched. Your passion, dedication, and loyalty showed through in everything you were involved in, from teaching to coaching to just listening. Thank you for always making me feel like "I can", thank you for always taking the time for each one of us. Thank you for always being real and genuine ... even when I didn't want to hear it. Thank you for sharing your gifts with all of us. I hope you know just how many and how much you touched our lives. I hope you know YOU made a difference. I hope your grandson grows up knowing just what an amazing man you are.
Rest easy coach, we'll take it from here, you taught us all well. 💜

Rachel Shane

February 19, 2021

I’m sad to hear of Mr. Banke’s passing and will be praying for his friends and family. I was just thinking the other day, about how he was one of the first male figures in my life who believed that I could do anything. I remember sitting in his 6th grade science class back in 2007. He was telling the class how it was possible for us to do anything we set our minds to. Anything. I jokingly asked “well what if I want to be an astronaut?”. He genuinely responded that I could, and not only that, but he believed in me. He said to say hi to him from space when I reached my dream. It took me off guard because of how genuine he was. Such unwavering belief in what we could do.

So here I am, an Air Force officer getting ready to work in launch weather at Cape Canaveral. It’s not quite being an astronaut, but I wish I had thanked Mr. Banke for his positive impact on my life. I’m living my dream, and I know I owe a piece of that to him. Thank you Mr. Banke.

Joe & Mary Ann Fortunato

February 19, 2021

We met Clark almost 50 years ago playing softball in Lansing. We have enjoyed many gatherings with Clark at MSU tailgates & football games, MSU basketball games. We will miss those dearly. Clark was a good friend who would do anything for anyone. He knew how to entertain and threw some good parties. Rest in peace my good friend.