Vincent Benziger
CARBONDALE -- Vincent William Rey Benziger died Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013, in Carbondale at age 63.

Vincent was the youngest of three children of James George and Patricia Rey Benziger. He graduated from Carbondale Community High School in 1968 and from University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1972.

His mental growth was fast. His physical growth was slow. When he graduated from high school, he was still short and small and called "Vinnie." This obituary might be entitled "Vinnie, we hardly knew ye." As an adult, he grew into the tallest and best looking of the Benzigers, 6 feet, 3 inches with wavy blond hair.

His social growth was also slow. He was introverted and his speech was difficult to understand. This was in part caused by the fact that he was largely deaf, a fact that was not discovered until well into his adulthood.

As kids, Vincent's father took all the children hiking in Giant City and Little Grand Canyon often and most especially after Thanksgiving and Christmas meals with the always abundant group of family friends. When Dr. Katherine Benziger returned to Carbondale 10 years ago to help their mother, Vincent went for hikes with his sister in those two areas several times.

As an adult, he got many degrees, including a Master's in Chinese from University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D., in international economics from Yale. He lived and taught economics in Beijing for one to two years to their economics students, who loved him very much and whom he taught clogging, a form of folk dance he also loved and excelled in.

He travelled all over the world including travelling the Trans-Siberian Express. He lived in Taiwan and appeared in soap operas there as the tall, gangly American. He also studied in mainland China.

In the 2000s, he had a job as an adjunct professor in economics at Shawnee Junior College, where he interacted with students with great patience and support. At that time he also published two articles regarding the importance of geography to a country's economic well-being, articles that were internationally recognized as being ahead of their time. From 2004 to 2009, he lived with his brother, Brad Benziger, in Carbondale.

Vincent went to University of Wisconsin to follow in the footsteps of his older sister, Dr. Katherine Benziger, of Carbondale. Vincent treasured the friendship and support of his older sister, who also taught him transcendental meditation, which he valued greatly.

He was a prince, a beautiful soul. If there is a heaven, he is in it.
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Published by The Southern Illinoisan on Dec. 15, 2013.
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3 Entries
The news of Vince's passing makes me sed. I considered him a friend in high school and admired how smart he was! I remember that he called me one afternoon and asked me to go for a walk. It was right as a huge thunderstorm was approaching and I (having not been raised in the area) was too afraid of the weather to go out walking. I regret that! Memories.... may his family share many and feel comforted.
Cathy Michel
December 27, 2013
I had a lot of classes in highschool with Vince then kept in touch for about 10 years. Met up with his sister Katherine once in NYC. I had looked for him online a couple of times but only found out that he lived in Carbondale and that he had published a brilliant article.
I never thought he was introverted or short or hard to understand. I have lots of memories. A favorite is his telling Mrs. Crowe that there was something wrong with anyone who couldn't tell the difference between a girl and a boy with long hair!
I didn't have any idea he was hard-of-hearing...makes it all the more amazing he mastered Chinese, a tonal language.
Lucia French
December 20, 2013
I remember "Vinnie" fondly as a childhood friend on Walnut St. So, sorry to hear he has passed over so young.
Holly Keepper-Immel
December 15, 2013