Our sweet, funny and loving Dad passed away on May 6, 2018, fifty-one years to the day that he married our mother. Preceded in death by his parents and wife, Marilyn; he leaves behind his daughter, Shannon and his son, Michael and his grand-daughters, Avery and Kayleigh. He also leaves his children’s partners, Stephen (Shannon) and Daisy (Michael), as well as his bonus grandchildren: Ellyce, Dylan and Brandon. In his last moments, he was surrounded by his loving family who will miss him more than words could ever convey.
Our Dad was born just outside New York City in 1944. He spent his early years in Long Island; around the Hudson Valley, NY; Detroit, MI; and eventually moving to Candor, NY after his father went to work at IBM. He lettered in four sports before he graduated from Candor Central High School in 1962. He obtained his degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1967 and went to work in Seneca Falls for Goulds Pumps. While at Goulds, he moved from engineering into product management, marketing and sales-- because he wanted new challenges. He moved his family from New York to Baton Rouge and eventually to Houston, TX. But enough of his resume’.
Here’s some of his favorite things: morning coffee and diet coke, his “new” house, Christmas with his kids – scratch that – ANYTIME WITH HIS KIDS. Lay’s potato chips and extra-sharp cheddar cheese – eaten together. Pizza. He loved pizza. He was crazy for queso and our mother’s spaghetti and meatballs. His daily newspaper – printed, of course. Feeding his sweet tooth. Anything written by Bill O’Reilly. The Republican party. Gadgets and gizmos that he’d buy from catalogs, Disco music (yes, seriously). Baseball. Fishing. Hunting – he and his father were quite the outdoorsmen. He built things and fixed things -- Michael did not fall far from the tree.
At 73, he was still passionate about his job and had no plans to retire. He spent hours solving problems with his co-workers, clients and business partners. He was pretty sure his product marketing team’s main job was to irritate him, which made for a lot of memorable conversations with his daughter – a marketer. [Note to his coworkers – please continue to “educate” those “people” to stop it with the discounts and the “buy one – get some” offers.]
You won’t find much of an online presence for him – he was worried he’d have an account get hacked, so he stayed off social media until he was recently “tricked” into signing-up for LinkedIn, which he joined just to see his daughter’s profile.
He disliked the Yankees from birth, was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan as a kid and an avid Astro’s fan since 1976. He played hardball with the Men’s Senior Baseball League and played twice in the MSBL World Series before retiring his cleats.
Our Dad was nicknamed “Precious Baby” by his Aunt Alta and “Romeo” or “Ronnie” by his classmates. Names that drove him crazy, but I know he secretly loved. He flirted and teased and joked – but only if he really liked you. He taught us how to ride bikes, play ball, drive a car, fish, shoot tin cans in the back yard, to make the good decisions. He was a great teacher and if he’d have tried a different path, that’s what he would have chosen as a career.
Ron Benedict loved. He loved deeply and unconditionally. When our mother was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and was subsequently placed in a care home, he visited her daily, like clockwork. Every day he would kneel down by her bed, give her a chocolate, watch the smile grow on her face and give her kisses. This went on for years. What a teacher he was to show us what love and devotion look like. His children aren’t perfect, but we bet you wouldn’t know that to hear him talk about us. We love him so much. He was an amazing father to us. We couldn’t have had anyone better.
We’ve been comforted by all the love and support shown to us by his friends and those he frequently interacted with – you were his favorite people. Please continue to share your memories with us.
In lieu of flowers, we would just prefer your written memories, photos, anecdotes, or anything that you want to share with us. Otherwise, if you are inclined, please consider a donation to the Tyler Spillman Foundation at tylerspillman.org/donate. Tyler was the step-brother of Ron’s granddaughters and is greatly missed by his family.