He finally made it home, Eugene Robert Benninghoff, 86, went into the arms of his Savior on November 27, 2021, surrounded by his loving family.
Eugene, better known as Benny, leaves behind his loving wife of 46 years, Sandra Sue whom he married on his birthday and also a sister Dixie Fish. Also surviving are his children, Kimberly (Kent) Onax, Kathy Austin, Robert (Donna) Watkins, Kevin (Teresa) Benninghoff, Corinne Watkins, Kelly (Billy) Dykstra, Joe Watkins, Kenneth (Chris) Watkins, and David (Jenn) Benninghoff.
Eugene had 42 grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren with two more grandbabies on the way.
Besides his parents, preceding him in death is a sister, Lila Grant; a brother Walter Benninghoff; and two great grandchildren Branson and Hannah.
Eugene was born to Carthel and Gertrude Benninghoff on June 26, 1935. Benny was a star pitcher for the South Bend Riley Wildcats. After throwing several no-hitters in his senior year, Benny earned tryouts with the Chicago White Sox, he said one of his proudest moments was when his mother was interviewed on television about his tryouts with the White Sox. Good jobs were difficult to find and because of the uncertainty of pay as major league baseball didn’t pay then what they do now and the chance to actually play in the big leagues, he took a safer job with Indiana Bell also known as Ameritech and then AT&T, retiring after 41 years of service.
Prior to retirement, Eugene and Sandra bought their little cottage on the edge of Bruce Lake in Kewanna, Indiana where they enjoyed the last 30 years fishing, boating, cheering on the Irish, Cubbies and the Bulls, but most of all spending time with their treasured family.
After hearing the news of Benny‘s death, a close neighborhood friend stated “He was an awesome guy! He never made us feel like we were annoying kids in the neighborhood. He treated us with respect and made us feel welcome. He’s one of those people you were glad you met in your life.” I believe that’s how most people felt about our dad. He was kind, jovial, generous and gentle, as long as you didn’t poke Gentle Ben with a stick! Dad was a blessing to our mother and to her four sons and two daughters having him in our life provided us with fatherly love, discipline and the tutelage we kids needed from a dad. If any of his five sons became half of the dad he was, they will be amazing dads too! Our dad will truly be missed but we rejoice that he is no longer in pain and we will be joining him one day in paradise.
The family would like to thank the staff from Center for Hospice Care, especially Brittany and Michelle.
Visitation for family will be on Thursday 12/2 from 4 to 5 PM and for friends 5 to 7 PM at Hahn Funeral Home 505 E. 8th St., Mishawaka, IN and then on Friday 10-11 AM with funeral services at 11. Burial will be at Southlawn cemetery on US 31 S. in South Bend, Indiana.
To leave an online condolence or to share a memory, please visit www.hahnfuneralhomes.com.