George John Benzing began his earthly adventures on a warm and sunny Friday in Blue Island, Illinois. Born on April 23, 1937, he was the first child of George and Ardith Benzing, but was soon joined by his sisters, Margaret and Cathy. He remained in Blue Island until he turned 18, at which point he enlisted in the Army, traveled the world, made life-long friends, and bravely served his country during the Vietnam War. Upon his return, he began working for Nicor Gas where he remained for 40 years until his retirement. In a twist of fate, George met Grace, the love of his life, in 1972 - and his self-proclaimed bachelor days were over. They had a whirlwind romance, were married in 1973, and had their son, George Andrew, the same year. George stepped easily into his role as stepfather to Grace's two older children, James and Mary Lou, and became fast friends with Grace's sister, Dolly.
During a visit with Dolly in New Mexico, George and Grace attended the Annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Not surprisingly, they quickly made friends there, and over the years, became part of the "Cool Beans" Chase Crew. They returned every year to enjoy the company of the friends they'd made (and their moonshine). The friendships forged their endured, and George considered them all part of his extended family, speaking with them frequently. When Grace was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, George stepped into a new role, compassionately caring for his beloved wife in the home they'd built to enjoy their retirement in Michigan City, Indiana. Her passing in 2012 left a void that he could never fill, and he often spoke with great anticipation of the day they would meet again in Heaven. George J. Benzing was lovingly guided to his eternal home on April 13, 2021 surrounded by the profound adoration of his family and friends. He joined his true love, Grace, and countless people he held dear. He is survived by their son, George Andrew (Jessica); his son-in-law, John; his grandchildren, Lauren (Bill), Jamie, Ashley (Grant), Isaac, Andrew, Jack, and many others that called him "Grandpa George"; his great-grandchildren, Olivia, Genevieve, Jaxon, Liam, and Lorelai; his sister, Cathy; his niece and goddaughter, Erin (Darrin); and his great-nephew and niece, Tyler and Olivia. George will always be remembered for his interminable love for his family and friends, his quick wit, his adventurous spirit, his perpetually positive outlook, and his countless tasteless jokes.
Visitation will be held at Vandenberg Funeral Home in Mokena, IL on Saturday, April 17 from 2–6 p.m. with a private interment at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery to follow at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, George's family would greatly appreciate a donation to a foundation that was near and dear to his heart. Alzheimer's Association
P.O. Box 96011 Washington, DC 20090-6011
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Published by Chicago Tribune on Apr. 15, 2021.