Michael A. Benedict

Nov. 8, 1916 - Aug. 21, 2008

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) Benedict. 

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 service.

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. 

For further 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, 2008)