Carl Benes ’62

Carl Benes ‘62,76, peacefully went to be with his Lord on February 25, 2017 at his home surrounded by family.

He was preceded in death by his parents (Angie & James) and Step-mother (Virginia). He is survived by Sandy, his soul-mate and devoted wife of 39 years. He is also survived by a large family that love him and call him brother, dad, grandpa, and papa. This includes his brother Jim (Randi) Benes; His children (with Sharon Flynn) Andy (Deanna) Benes, Dan Benes, and Sarah (John) Heed; His four step-children Kellie (Matt) Russell, Tricia (Jerry) Vinson, Mike (Lisa) Cavender, Betsy (Diane) Cavender; His 18 Grandchildren: Aidan Heed and Cydney Heed; Zach and Owen Benes; Katelyn and Matthew Benes; Marci (Joe) Weed, Jaime (Justin) Warren, Lindsey (Daryl) Bracht, Matt (Lauren) Russell; Brandon (Katelyn), Kelsi, Brent, and Kaitlyn Vinson; David, Justin, Sarah, and Michael Cavender; and 11 Great Grandchildren.

Carl was born to Jim and Angie Benes on May 11, 1940 in Mohawk, NY where his father was a Pastor. Following his father’s profession, he graduated from Hope College and Western Theological Seminary and served several churches before settling in Jackson Michigan as the Hospital Chaplain for Foote Memorial Hospital.

In 1979 he accepted the calling to Pastor at First Congregational Church, retiring after nearly 29 years, in 2007. During his time in Jackson he performed more than 1,050 weddings, 1,225 funerals, and 425 baptisms. You could always count on a big hug and bright smile while attending a service. He greatly impacted the Jackson community with his involvement in local boards, and ministering to those restricted to their own home, or performing a church service at a nursing home.

His lifelong learning included a Doctorate of Ministry from Drew University in 1987 and a deep study of Family Systems Thinking. He encouraged many with their own education by frequently asking what you have learned from: sermon, class, seminar, etc. And, also by teaching classes or tutoring you in a specific skill/class.

Carl found his thinking time in the garden, separating the fruit (ok vegetables) from the weeds was more than a parable of his profession and faith. It is where he held his most direct and intimate conversations with God. The family would like to thank the many caregivers over the duration that Alzheimer’s slowly took him away. Much help was received from family and friends with specific thanks to Marianne, Marty, Theresa, Kim, and Dominika.

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