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BENEDICT, HOWARD JEFFREY March 7, 1945 to Feb. 7, 2012 Howard was born in Pasadena, Ca., although they moved every couple years, as Howard Sr. was an officer in the U.S. Air Force. Younger brother Mike was born in Formosa and older brother Chuck was born in New York. When Howard was 10 and Howard Sr. had died, Betty raised the three boys in Clairemont, Ca., which overlooks Mission Bay. Her career and means of supporting the family was mostly as a nurses aide. Sisters Charlene (Jones) Rhinehart and Elinor (Jones) Taylor helped with their care as well. This was such a magical area to grow up in, as it was so near the Pacific Ocean. Howard told me his love of the sea began when he asked his Mother to take him down to visit the site of a recent shark attack, near La Jolla. From then on everything he was interested in, revolved around being in the ocean. He became fascinated with free-diving and spearing big fish in his teens and landed a job with Chuck Nicklin, at The Diving Locker in P.B. In typical Howard fashion, he went all out with this sport and carved the most beautiful wood spear guns ever seen and crafted the metal pieces for them himself. He was encouraged to use his artistic talents, by a fellow spear fisherman named Wayne who was a dentist, to enter college, and so Howard did. He specialized in the field of cosmetic dentistry and had his practice at an office on 101 in Leucadia, Ca. for over 25 years. He was admired for his skills in creating beautiful healthy smiles, but envied even more for his ability to combine ocean sports and travel, along with managing a successful career. He had been a graduate of Madison High, San Diego State and USC. Howard also contributed his success at becoming a dentist, to West Leffingwell, as he was the dentist to give him his start in the little round brick building, in Cardiff in the 1970s, by allowing him to use his office during the evening hours. He followed that casual schedule for his whole career. This was the best thing he could have set-up, as it facilitated his healthy life style and interests in long board and tow-in surfing, free diving, windsurfing, bike riding and sailing. During the years he lived on his sailboat, the G.V.Black, he would always say to me, in a sweeping motion with his arms across Oceanside Harbor "Life is good" when you have this for your backyard! Everyday was wonderful to him, every person he met was the best person you could ever possibly meet, every wave epic. He was incredibly positive about all things. You were instantly swept up into his enthusiasm for most things ocean related. We (Jennifer and Howard) traveled in our early years together in a humble camper usually to Baja, with the Barstows, Mosels and Grahams. Later to many always surf related exotic destinations. He charged though life with extreme energy and expertise, and had a story to tell about them all, embellishing only occasionally and always ready for the next adventure. He lived life to it's fullest, his motto to me, he'd laugh and say "Everything in excess, nothing in moderation" all in a healthy, "Summers Day" kind of way. The real thrill of his life was born on October 31, 1988. Having Bridgett was the best thing that ever happened to him, of course. They surfed together and he indulged her in "all thing outdoors". He was an enthusiastic "Horse Show Dad". Even as his illness (bv ftd) left him hard-pressed to communicate, I believe his last shining light was her graduation from college, which he was extremely proud of. Immense gratitude to Tom and Marie Hanly and Jeff Dowell for their many Las Pulgas bike rides and Batiquitos Lagoon walks, his last four years. Most recently their care with Howard's well being Dr. Glenn Soppe and Dr. Gregory Mattson. In the end, Mike Benedict's kindness in caring for him his last days on earth.

Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Feb. 19, 2012
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