Michael A. Benedict
Nov. 8, 1916 - Aug.
Michael A. Benedict of
Waukesha died Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008, at Waukesha Springs at age 91. He
was born Nov. 8, 1916, in Chicago, the son of Jess and Helen (Paladino)
Michael was united in
marriage to Geraldine “Gerry” Neeck on April 22, 1946; she preceded
him in death Oct. 29, 1989. He graduated from Manley Junior High and
Richard Crane Technical High School, both in Chicago.
Mike proudly served
his country in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II as 2nd
lieutenant bombardier navigator. On May 29, 1944, he parachuted from a
burning B-17 after a bombing run, breaking his left ankle when hitting the
ground near Mesiritz, Germany. After being taken to Stalag Luft III, Sagan,
Germany, until Jan. 28, 1945, they were marched to Nurnberg, arriving Feb.
5, 1945. He was interned at Stammlager XIII prisoner of war camp until
leaving April 3, 1945. They arrived at Moosberg, Germany, on April 5,
1945, and stayed there until April 29 when they were liberated by General
Patton’s armored division. Stalag Luft III was the P.O.W. camp where
“The Great Escape” took place. Mike and his wife later remained active
with other P.O.W.’s and attended many reunions around the country with
other members of the same camp. He was awarded numerous medals for his
After returning to the
states, Mike studied at the American Television Institute of Technology in
Chicago, graduating in 1951. He began his career as an engineer at AC
Spark Plug in Milwaukee, which later relocated to Oak Creek and became
Delco Electronics. There, he worked on the navigation system for the
Apollo space program, retiring after 30 years of employment. Mike enjoyed
traveling, and when his children were young, the family took numerous
camping trips around the United States. After the children were grown,
Mike and his wife also traveled with close friends around the country and
outside of the states. He loved going to northern Wisconsin where his wife
grew up to visit family, and staying at their cottage built by his
father-in-law and brothers-in-law.
Mike will be sadly
missed by his three children, Michael Benedict of Waukesha, Susan (Randy)
Lobotzke of Milwaukee and Lee (Frank) Wallace of Waukesha; four
granddaughters, Jennifer (Chris) Tews, Julie Benedict, Alexis (John) Randa
and Karly Wallace; four great-grandchildren, Mitchell Alonso, Mackenzie
Alonso, Braeden Tews and Isabel Randa; two sisters, Dolly Pedergnana and
Jeanette Wood; former daughter-in-law, Jill (Leo) Paddock; and numerous
nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
In addition to his
wife, he was preceded in death by his siblings, Helen Molinaro, Jesse
Benedict, Arthur Benedict and Evelyn Benedict, and his parents.
Visitation will be
held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24, at Randle-Dable Funeral Home,
1110 S. Grand Ave., Waukesha. A second visitation will be held from 10:30
a.m. until the 11 a.m. funeral service Monday, Aug. 25, at Beautiful
Savior Lutheran Church, 1205 S. East Ave., Waukesha. The Rev. Peter
Schmidt will preside. Burial will follow at Prairie Home Cemetery.
information, please call Randle-Dable Funeral, Cremation and Preplanning
Services at 547-4035 or go to www.waukeshafunerals.com for directions or
to leave an online tribute.
(Freeman - Aug. 23,