Donald J. Benczkowski
Donald J. Benczkowski "Benzy" age 85, passed away on Monday, June 8, 2020 at St. Vincent Hospital. Born June 22, 1934 in Erie, he was the first son of the late Sophia (Jendrzejczak) and Charles Benczkowski.
Don was a graduate of Academy High School, class of 1952, and then enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1953. During the Korean Conflict, he was stationed in Munich, Germany working as a cryptographer, as well as the personal lifeguard for Army personnel and their families. After being honorably discharged in 1956, he developed an expertise in carpentry and custom cabinet-making. His woodworking skills and talents are revealed in many local church sanctuaries and residential homes. Somehow, he also managed to initiate projects in each of his son's homes, to keep him busy (and keep the sons busy, too). They were very fortunate to have him around, not only for the project, but for the companionship. His favorite motto was "...measure twice, cut once."
Benzy joined the Erie Fire Department in 1966, and held various positions including tillerman, snorkel driver, fire inspector, and Quartermaster--Badge 329. He loved the Quartermaster position because he was able to see many of his friends in all four platoons. He retired from the Erie Fire Department in 1996 after 30 years of dedicated service to the residents of the City of Erie.
He enjoyed fishing, the annual family and friends fun-filled Labor Day weekend peninsula picnic, and the Zabawa Polish festival, whether working or just attending. He was very proud of his Polish heritage and it showed. His camp in Warren County was also a special place for peaceful and quiet days (although the work there never ended!). He created beautiful pen and ink illustrations and was a very fine artist. His Polish colorful cutouts, "Wycinanki" were fabricated, framed and gifted to many people. He was known for his great culinary skills while working his shifts at the firehouse. Frying was always done in a well-seasoned Griswold frying pan, and God forbid using soap for cleanup. One of his favorite activities was spending time with his grandchildren, watching them grow into adulthood, and always proud of each one's accomplishments.
Don was a member of the S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie, and helped with many of their activities. He especially enjoyed the camaraderie while cooking hot dogs at the Ice Out parties. He was also a lifetime member of the Erie Times Old Newsies Association, and a longtime member of the Society of Holy Trinity where he had many friends.
Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister Josephine "Toots" Benczkowski in 1987. He is survived by his wife of nearly 61 years, Antoinette "Nancy" (Baranowski) Benczkowski, whom he married on September 5, 1959; his brother Robert "Benny" Benkoski (Noreen) of St. Pete Beach, Florida; sons Don Jr. (Cleta), David (Ellen) and Dan (Kristen). He is further survived by his grandchildren Michael and Patrick both of Pittsburgh, Sara (Jamie) of Erie, Dave Jr. of Edmond, Oklahoma, Matthew of Erie and Connecticut, and Jason Delp and great-granddaughter Raven of Erie; and his nephew Steven Benkoski of
Our family wants to send special thanks to Dr. Kiet Ma, Dr. Klara Roman, the 4th floor ICU staff at St. Vincent's, staff at the Heart Clinic, many other Doctors and Nurses at AHN and at the Erie Veteran's Administration Hospital, for all of their loving care and heartfelt compassion. We will miss your smiling faces.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic a Funeral Mass at Holy Trinity Church with burial in Calvary Cemetery was held privately.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the Erie Firefighter's Historical Museum, the S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie, Holy Trinity R.C. Church, or the Veteran's Administration Hospital, where he made many friends.
Lives are like Rivers: Eventually they go where they must, not where we want them to...
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The Carl A. Slomski & Son Funeral Home Inc. 2101 Ash St. is handling arrangements.
Please send condolences to www.slomskifuneralhome.com
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Erie Firefighter's Historical Museum
S.O.N.S of Lake Erie
Holy Trinity Church
VA Medical Center