John H. Benzoni
1926 - 2020
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Benzoni, John H.
05/07/1926 - 07/23/2020
Rochester - John H. Benzoni, loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, went to be with His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on July 23, 2020, at age 94. As a resident of Rochester NY, "Jack" taught and coached at East High School for 23 years and wintered on Siesta Key in Florida in his later retirement years. Jack was a World War II Veteran, serving in the Pacific Theatre. After his service, he obtained a degree from Colgate University, courtesy of the GI Bill. He then earned a Master's Degree from Syracuse University and audited over 90 hours of classes at the University of Rochester. Jack was a lifelong proponent of reading and education, spending countless hours volunteering at his local library.
Although Jack enjoyed reading, where he truly thrived was athletic competitions and the outdoors. Although he always enjoyed a challenge, he also championed safety at home and during all his activities. In the 1960's and 1970's, Jack was an active volunteer at the Penfield Volunteer Ambulance Emergency Service, ensuring the safety of his neighbors and community. As an avid snow skier, he led an effort to bring Ski Film Pioneer Warren Miller to Rochester in 1956 to promote skiing and ski safety. In the 1960's with the establishment of Bristol Mountain Ski Resort, he became a founding and lifelong member of its Ski Patrol, where over decades he taught candidate CPR and First Aid. He also established its Auxilary First Aid program. He was honored with NSP National Appointment #5437. His specialty was Winter Mountaineering, which took place over cold winter weekends at Camp Cutler or in the Adirondack Mountains with a sleeping bag, snow shoes and a canvas tent. In the absence of snow, Jack enjoyed hiking the Adirondacks and became a "46er" in just three summers, hiking all Adirondack Peaks over 4000 feet. During this time, he also spent five weeks every summer hiking the American and Canadian Rocky Mountains with his son. When not enjoying the great outdoors, his competitive nature was fed through multiple duplicate bridge competitions, as Jack was a gifted card player. This was a hobby that Jack later enjoyed in his 70's and 80's after he was no longer able to compete at what had become a major part of his life - marathons and triathlons.
Jack began running marathons around the age of 45. He competed in over 20 marathons, including five under three hours. By the age of 56, he earned the title of the National Age Group Champion in the 15K. Having never done a triathlon before and tiring of just running marathons, Jack applied to compete in the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon in 1984. Much to his surprise and later concern, he was accepted. So, he bought a bike and started training. Jack placed 3rd in his age group that year and his appetite was whetted. Having just retired from teaching, he became a full-time triathlete. Jack competed in numerous national triathlon and duathlon competitions as well as completing the Hawaiian Ironman 3 more times. During each subsequent Ironman competition, he placed in his age category, coming in 2nd twice and 5th once. A broken clavicle in August of 1989 received during a 3,000 mile "pedaling vacation" across the United States with a group of other Rochesterians prevented him from entering the Ironman competition that year. However in 1989, prior to that injury, he was able to travel on Team USA as the number five man to compete in the first ITU World Triathlon Championship in Avignon France. Jack placed 2nd in his age group that year and continued to represent the United States in the World Triathlon Championships for the next several years. He competed in ITU World Championships in Orlando FL, Australia, England (3rd place), New
Zealand, Canada (2nd place) and other countries as well. By the age of 61, he was ranked 3rd in the world by Triathlon Today Magazine in his age group. In addition to national and international events, in 1991 Jack represented New York State in the National Senior Games and the U.S. National Senior Sports Class III Olympics, medaling in both. The trophies from all of these, as well as many other national and international triathlon events, fill a room.
Our Dad turned himself into an All-American Athlete in Ultra Endurance Competitions through sheer determination. His fellow competitors nicknamed him "Long John" because he would never give up. If they were ahead of him in a race, they knew that they could not coast to an easy victory, for "Long John" would be restlessly pushing the whole way. During his prime training years, he would swim 335 miles, run 1,900 miles and bike 6,000 miles each year. He was very humble regarding his athletic accomplishments and stated that the secret was simply putting the right foot in front of the left foot and then doing it again. He showed that same determination in his personal integrity, dedication to his community and devotion to his family, children and grandchildren. He believed in the Golden Rule - One should treat others as they would like to be treated. He taught this to us also.
Jack Benzoni is predeceased by his father, Herbert J (Rip) Benzoni, a historic college football referee and NFL scout; his mother, Gladys V Benzoni; and his wife, Dorthy (Phillips) Benzoni. Survivors are his brother, Richard Benzoni; children; Brenda Bandinel, Barbara (Michael) Morgan, Betty Louise (Phillip) Moody, and Bill (Kimberly) Benzoni; seven grandchildren and three great-grandsons.
A private family celebration of life will be held at a later date. Donations in Jack's memory may be made to the Bristol Mountain Ski Patrol, 5662 State Rte 64, Canandaigua, NY 14424. Arrangements are by Johnson-Kennedy Funeral Home, Inc., Canandaigua. Condolences may be offered at www.johnsonkennedy.com.

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Published in Herald Tribune from Jul. 31 to Aug. 2, 2020.
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Memories & Condolences
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7 entries
August 2, 2020
I'm sorry to hear of John's (aka Benzi) passing. I knew and competed with John in many local triathlon's and traveled to the first ITU Triathlon Worlds in France in 1989. Also, in the Hawaii Ironman in 1988. Your dad was a true legend at local races and in team USA events. Always humble and a great sportsman. I can tell from your write-up that you already knew that he was respected by his peers. He lived a full life. I hope he left you all with many great memories! Swim-Bike-Run-Hike-Ski in Peace
Dennis Moriarty
Friend
July 29, 2020
I always admired John. He was a taciturn man, who never gave his opinion loosely. He was my hero in many ways. It’s hard for me to fathom what discipline he had to possess to achieve all he did in sports. Yet, he never let the accolades go to his head, and abhorred boasting.
A gift of silence, was one of his cardinal strengths that he possessed. ‘Honesty, was always the best policy’ he would say. John had a stoic dignity about him, a benevolent kindness, and truly one of life‘s great gentleman. He never provoked people needlessly, and never reneged on a promise.
John H Benzoni, will be greatly missed by me, and so many other individuals who had the good fortune to cross his path in life, and were positively inspired by the way he lived his long, unselfish life.
James Millet Sr.
July 27, 2020
I was so surprised to see John’s obituary. I met John in 1985 he was 59, and I was 26. I belonged to the metro YMCA, and was beginning my training for my very first triathlon. I was in awe of John and his training regimen. For me at that time of my life John was “old” and shouldn’t really have been able to train at that level. John became my mentor and always took time to give advice or pointers. I rode with John to Tupper Lake for my first tri, and will always remember that weekend. John’s wit, humor, and willingness to share his vast experience has always stayed with me. I remember John with such fondness. I have no recollection of my race results.
I’ve never forgotten John, and the example of perseverance, endurance and generosity.
I should not have been surprised in the least that John ran life’s race to the age of 94.
I extend my condolences to John’s family and thank each of you for sharing John so generously.
Kevin Judge
Acquaintance
July 27, 2020
My heart has been full of so many precious memories. Years of fun, learning, care, and love. We don't realize when we're young how much relationships have to do with the person we become. I treasured your parents, your home, and your friendships.
God Bless you as you grieve and always.
❤ Nancie
Nancie Kane
Friend
July 26, 2020
I grew up in the house next to the Benzoni's, and had no idea what an accomplished athlete Jack was! I'm sure you are as proud of his accomplishments as I am impressed. Condolences for your loss.
Tim Buzby
Neighbor
July 26, 2020
I always enjoyed talking to Uncle Jack. I found him a great listener and a good story teller. He did love to tell about his various competitions and most times had a funny story to go along with one of them! He was always interested in hearing about my running and triathlons...fun to talk to someone who truly lived and understood the sport!! I will miss Uncle Jack dearly. I am so sorry for you loss my dear cousins!
Elisa (Weezie) Benzoni
Family
July 25, 2020
Bill , Kim and Boys, so sorry for you loss. he sounds like a wonderful man and a great roll model. Love The Borowski Family
georgiann borowski
Family
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