Benito Cervantes, Jr. a long-time resident & humanitarian of King County, sadly, died unexpectedly on Thursday, May 28, 2020, after suffering a heart attack. He was 65 years old.
Sometimes soft-spoken, he was quick-witted and always railing against the hopelessness of institutional indifference. He long held a desire to teach people the importance to live as a community, infused with love for ourselves and our fellow human beings. He was a committed advocate providing a voice for the voiceless; providing strength for the defenseless; and caring for the forgotten.
Benito was born on August 7, 1954, in Whatcom County, Washington, to Benito Sr. and Irene Cervantes. He graduated from Washington State University in 1976 with a degree in Criminal Justice. He would later use his degree to secure a job in the 1990's with the King County Adult Detention facility in Seattle, which employed him as a corrections officer for quite a number of years.
He left that area of law enforcement in 2000 and was hired by the King County Department of Public Defense as an experienced criminal investigator. He concentrated much of his highly skilled practice on complex felony litigation which included assignments to several capital cases over the years as lead investigator. He was a consummate professional who formed lasting friendships and held himself to the highest standards of quality and service inside public defense.
In those rare moments of self-reflection, Benito never wavered in his principled belief that we are all worthy, whether or not we succeed at things in life. We all have purpose. He courageously clung to the belief that life is not merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences. But rather, a tapestry of events that culminate in an exquisite, sublime plan.
Benito enjoyed riding his motorcycle, swimming, his sauna, and spending time with his family. His personality was one of a kind. He brought a smile to everyone's face. He epitomized kindness and offered a helping hand to anyone he encountered. He was a true friend that will live on in the many hearts that he touched.
Benito leaves three children, Isiah, Evan and Jack, and a lifetime of personal accomplishments to fill a book. He is also survived by two brothers, Sergio and Ralph; his four surviving sisters, Sylvia, Grace, Norma and Lucila; his many nieces, nephews, cousins, colleagues and a collective of friends and acquaintances of every color.
Between birth and death, what he was able to accomplish in the middle was legion. He leaves behind a legacy of compassion which will forever define his life. He lived life passionately and independently, and for those who were lucky to have known him, they are blessed.
Published in The Seattle Times from Jun. 10 to Jun. 30, 2020.