Michael Joseph Benevento
Williston - Michael Joseph Benevento ("Mike") - beloved husband, father, son, brother and uncle—passed away suddenly from a heart attack on June 5th, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland, surrounded by loved ones.
Mike was born on October 31st, 1962 in Burlington Vermont to Vincent Benevento and Sara (Monaco) Benevento. In high school, he was actively involved in the Air Force Junior ROTC Program, and as a Boy Scout he received the honor of Eagle Scout. He graduated from Essex High School and then joined the Army National Guard. He was then accepted at both the United States Military Academy West Point and the United States Air Force Academy, and chose to join the USAFA. Following the academy, he was ultimately the top graduate of his navigator program. He later earned his master's degree in International Relations from Troy State University.
Mike, call sign "Ollie," served as a Fighter Jet Weapons System Officer and USAF Air Liaison Officer. He was stationed in Niagara Falls, NY (where he flew F4Ds); Clovis, New Mexico and RAF Lakenheath (where he flew F111s); and Rödelheim, Germany and Schofield Barracks in Hawaii (where he was an Air Liaison Officer). Mike always said that when he was flying, "I felt that I was soaring with the eagles."
After separating from the Air Force, Mike returned home. His family kidded him over his endless lists, agendas, and legendary trip itineraries - but those skills once important in his roles in the Air Force now applied to family life. Mike initially worked at Vertek and then for the past seventeen years, at EPS, Inc., as a team leader and data analyst. He treasured the relationships he was able to build with his management team and colleagues.
He was passionate about local, state, and national politics. For two years, he wrote Right to the Point, a bi-weekly column in the Williston Observer and would frequently write Letters to the Editor to inspire discussion and create engagement. Mike ran for the Vermont House of Representatives in 2010 and was frequently found helping others in their campaigns.
He was tremendously involved in the community, serving as a Babe Ruth baseball league coach and coordinator, Williston Little League Board member, umpire coordinator, and umpire for both softball and baseball. Even after his youngest son had aged out of the leagues years before, he continued to support the local Williston baseball and softball communities. Ever the utility player, Mike was frequently "put in cold" as a coach, umpire, scorekeeper, or announcer. He could line the field, keep the books, or interpret a call. A true lover of the game, he adamantly believed that every child should have the opportunity to play. He was also a longtime volunteer for the Make A Wish Foundation.
Mike's favorite pastime was collecting baseball player autographs and beating his friends in a game of dice baseball or wiffle ball. He especially loved supporting the Baltimore Orioles and was a devoted season ticket holder for the Vermont Lake Monsters.
Mike embodied a strong moral and ethical code, displayed loyalty, made sacrifices to put other people's needs before his own, and always made sure to ask for and remember people's names. He made the effort to record and remember the birthdays of nearly everyone he met, and then took the time to reach out with birthday or anniversary wishes every year. He showed genuine love and provided devoted care for many elder family members.
Mike is survived by his loving wife of nearly 33 years, Kristine (Johnson) Benevento; sons Matthew Benevento (partner Charlotte) and Calvin Benevento (wife Erin); father Vincent Benevento (wife Elaine); brother Joseph Benevento (wife Petra); sister Maddalena Knight (husband George); sister Teresa Benevento-Munroe (wife Caryn); numerous brothers-in-law and sisters-in-laws; cousins, nieces and nephews; godfather Ralph Buro; best friends Larry Bullis, Ray Parizo, Steve Edgar; and his best feline friend Moonlight Graham.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Sara (Monaco) Benevento; his special aunt Mary (Monaco) Capelli; and his beloved cats Mouse, Spot, Cat, Furball & Ravenpaw.
Mike's memorial service will take place on Saturday, June 12th at 11:00am at St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Essex Junction, Vermont. A reception will follow at the American Legion Post #91 in Colchester.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to your local Little League.
Published in The Burlington Free Press from Jun. 10 to Jun. 11, 2021.