ESCALANTE, SMSgt. Benito J., Retired United States Air Force and Korean Conflict veteran, succumbed to cancer on Dec. 29, 2012, at the age of 83. Mr. Escalante was stationed at Homestead AFB Strategic Air Command during the Cuban Missile Crisis. His favorite duty station was at the USAF School for Latin America/Inter-American Air Forces Academy, in the former Panama Canal Zone, at which he served three tours of duty. Mr. Escalante also taught Spanish at Seminole High School and is a retiree of the Pinellas County School System. Mr. Escalante, the son of Spanish immigrants, was born March 21, 1929, in Astoria, NY. He enjoyed jazz, Latin American music and filmography. He is survived by his loving widow, Ellie, to whom he was married for 63 years; three daughters, Christine DeFeyter, Seffner, Belinda Brown, Memphis, TN, and Lidia Victoria, Clearwater Beach; one son, Michael Escalante, Gainesville; five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Graveside services will be conducted Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, at Royal Palm Cemetery South at 1 pm www.rlwilliams.com R. Lee Williams & Son 49th St. No./727-527-1177
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Published in the Tampa Bay Times on Jan. 6, 2013