- Andrew (Andy) Benko of Winfield, Alta. passed away suddenly at his home on March 20th, 2011. He leaves to mourn his loving wife of 48 years, Mary; his children Tim (Shelly) Benko; grandchildren Morgan and Faith of Cloverdale, B.C., daughter Joan (Cal) Goodman; granddaughters Robin and Michelle, of Saskatoon, Sask., Laura (Dave) Johnson of Winfield, Alta.; step-grandchildren Rick, Kim (Steve) Burton, Danielle (Dion) Olson (and their children) and Danica (Curtis) Parish, Lynne (Darryl) Lucki; grandchildren Nicholas and Miranda of Outlook, Sask., and John (Stephanie) Benko; granddaughters Jessica and Jenna of Wainwright, Alta.; brother Len (Betty) Benko of Langley, B.C., brother Clarence “Chuck” Benko of Edmonton, Alta., sister Val (Rudy) Thurlow of Kenaston, Sask., brother Jim Benko, of Surrey B.C., brother Jack (Lois) Benko of Kelowna, B.C., sister Theresa (Eldon) Owen of Kenaston, Sask., many nieces and nephews and their children. He also leaves to grieve his loss his sisters-in-law, Andrea Mellis of Vienna, Austria, Joan (Dan) Clements of Salt Spring Island, B.C. and Mhora (Joe) Ogmundson of Chilliwack, B.C. He was predeceased by his parents John and Frances Benko, his mother- and father-in-law Andrew and Erin Mellis, several aunts and uncles, his grandson Matthew Benko and nephews Rudy Thurlow and Stephen Benko.
Andy was born in Davidson, Sask. on January 13, 1943, the fourth child of John and Frances (Sabo) Benko of Kenaston, Sask. At the age of 16 Andy quit school, much against his parent’s wishes, and for a time worked on elevator construction in Kenaston. At the age of 17 he joined the Canadian Army and was sent to Currie Barracks in Calgary where he became a member of the 1st Battalion, Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada. In 1961, at the onset of the “Cold War” and the building of the infamous “Berlin Wall”, Andy found himself in Germany with his regiment (quite a culture shock for a kid from the Prairies whose farthest travels prior to this was to Regina). In 1962 he had been treated for hoarseness, sore throat and possible cancer. Before he knew it he was on his way back to Canada where surgeons at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto removed a benign polyp from his throat. He was then sent back to Calgary where he became a member of the 2nd Battalion Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, met the love of his life and started his family. In 1970 Andy left the Infantry and became a Postal Clerk with the Canadian Armed Forces Postal Corps. While stationed at CFB Calgary, he was sent to Cyprus where he spent six months with the United Nations Peacekeeping Force. He served his country honorably for 25 years, retiring in 1984 and moved his family back to his hometown of Kenaston, Sask.
In 1985 Andy became employed as the Town Foreman for the Village of Kenaston, Sask., where he worked until 1994. Health restrictions resulted in him leaving this employment and in the late fall of 1994 he and Mary moved to Saskatoon, Sask. where they both became members of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires until June 2003 when they retired and moved to their final home in Winfield, Alta.
Andy was immensely proud of his five children and their achievements in life and loved them and his grandchildren dearly. Family meant a great deal to him and he always enjoyed family get-togethers.
An avid hockey fan, he was also a great player. Not being able to pursue a career in the NHL, he was offered the opportunity to play on military teams throughout his Army years as well as to coach minor hockey. When first back in Kenaston, he coached the Kenaston Blizzards hockey team, and the Blizzard Babes softball team. If there is hockey in heaven, then God has gained another good defenseman. He was also a loyal and faithful Saskatchewan Roughriders fan… even proudly displaying his Roughrider flags in ‘Oil Country’.
Always community minded, Andy was a member of the Kenaston Volunteer Fire Department, as well as being the Emergency Measures Coordinator for Kenaston and area. He was also a member of the Kenaston Lions Club, and, at the time of his passing, had been a member of the Royal Canadian Legion with 31 years of dedication.
A memorial service for Andy was held at the Winfield Community Centre at 2:00 p.m., March 28, 2011. Internment will take place in Andy’s home town in Kenaston, Sask. at a later date.
If friends desire, memorial contributions may be made to the Winfield Pond Hockey Account (C/o Instant Replay Sports 4725 50 Ave, Wetaskiwin, AB T9A 0R9) or St. Andrew’s Cemetery Fund (Box 252, Kenaston, SK, S0G 2N0)
Expressions of sympathy may be forwarded to the family by visiting www.wilsonsfuneralchapel.ca.
Wilson’s Funeral Chapel & Crematorium serving Central Alberta with locations in Rimbey and Lacombe in charge of the arrangements. Phone: (403) 843-3388 or (403) 782-3366.
“A Caring Family, Caring For Families”
Benko, Andrew (Andy)
Category: Obituary |