Benefiel, Daniel Joel
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June 23, 1925 - Dec. 19, 2012
Daniel Joel Benefiel, longtime resident of Sarasota, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on December 19th, 2012. He was born June 23, 1925 in Anderson, IN.
Daniel graduated from St. Mary's High School in Anderson in 1943 and enlisted in the United States Army that same year. He served during WWII with the 361st Infantry Regiment. After landing on the beachhead in Anzio Italy the 361st was in combat for 208 days. They fought and defeated elements of 20 German divisions pushing their way up the boot of Italy. It was during this period that he formed the friendships that were to last the remainder of his life. He remained active in the 361st association, Powder River Let er Buck.
After the war Daniel returned to school and received his Bachelor Degree in Chemistry from Indiana University in 1950 and a Master's of Science in Industrial Management from Purdue University in 1958. He attended the Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, KS in 1964. Daniel had a long and distinguished career in the Army, serving for 28 years as both an enlisted man and an officer. He was a battalion commander with the 101st Airborne Div. in Vietnam during the 1968 Tet Offensive. He retired in 1975 as a colonel. His list of awards, badges and medals are numerous he was most proud of his Combat Infantry Badge, his Senior Parachutist Badge, the Legion Of Merit w/olc and the Bronze Star with V and 3/olc.
After his retirement from the Army, Daniel worked as chemist and procurement engineer for Peoples Gas in Chicago. Later retiring to Florida, where he attended the University of South Florida for two years. He then worked at a local accounting firm, later opening his own tax preparation company.
Daniel loved Civil War history and managed to visit every Civil War battlefield. He was very interested in family genealogy and spent 20 years in research for a book he finally completed "Star in the West". He and his beloved wife Mary Ann traveled extensively and wore out three RVs during their travels.
Daniel is survived by his sisters, Ann Jeanette Benefiel, Ella Bisbing, and Kathleen Tucker, his sons Daniel II and William, his daughters Patricia Martin and Cheryl. His stepson Gregory Pavlich and daughter in law Kathy. His grandchildren Daniel III and Sean Benefiel, Christopher and Amber Martin, and Nicklas Pavlich. Daniel also has many great grandchildren, nephews, and nieces. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Mary Ann; mother Margaret, father Horace, brother Thomas and sister Mary Margaret.
A memorial service will be held on January the 7th, 2012 at Toale Brother's Funeral Home, 40 N. Orange Ave. Sarasota FL at 2:00 pm. He will be laid to rest this spring at Arlington Cemetery.
Published in Herald Tribune from January 4 to January 5, 2013