It is with great sadness that we share the passing of a truly great man … most called him Chief but to his family he was a loving husband, dad, grandpa, brother; he was special and was very deeply loved by so many!
Chief Jerry Benedix served our Valley Home Community for over 50 years!
His devoted daughter Cindy Benedix Fleischer shared her memories and thoughts about her beloved Dad with us.
She remembers the love he shared with his family and so many, many close friends. He was a loving husband, a loving dad and especially a loving and devoted grandpa. Cindy still, almost 63 years later, has the Casper doll her dad bought her when she almost two years old. She shared that some of her happiest memories are the hours spent on the “bank out” wagon during rice harvest season, sourdough pancakes before school, canning dill pickles, and him walking her down the aisle and telling the minister … “Yep, I am giving her away for the second time.” Cindy remembers the fun they would have on his birthdays at the Peppermill Casino in Reno or just the other day when he watched his third great granddaughter walk for the first time. She remembers her friends telling her “your dad is a big man” but to her, he was always just her dad. Now looking back, she realizes he really was a big man; a man who was loved and respected by so many!
His grandchildren and great grandchildren were the light of his life. He was so proud of his “little cowgirl” Terah. She had her grandpa wrapped around her little finger from an early age. Terah was the only girl in the family for over 30 years; all she had to do was say “grandpa can you fix it?” and he was right there. She loved horses (grandpa called them “hay burners”) and grandpa was always there to lend a helping hand. His grandson Branden was always excited to have his grandpa sharing his knowledge with him. Branden was into racing “go-karts; his grandpa loved to hit the road with him to the races, he loved to try to make that kart go just a little bit faster and it was his great joy to watch the smile on grandson Branden’s face. Oh the fun he had; grandpa Jerry loved hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, air races, car shows with his son, he loved trap shooting and was an amazing shot. Some of his happiest times were with his beloved grandchildren. He would travel to different states with grandson Cody, watching Cody during his snowmobiling days, always the proudest grandpa. He and Cody would enjoy the best of times together.
In the Fire Department some called him Chief, some called him Valley Home One, but his oldest grandson, Bryan called him grandpa and on the day that grandpa pinned the badge on Bryan as he graduated from the MJC Fire Academy, something happened that you didn’t see very often … a quiet tear slipped from the Chief’s eye … his grandchildren were everything to him!
Cindy shared that her dad was not much on vacations but she was able to get him on a few cruises! He loved the Alaska one the best; on the 10th deck corner suite with a wraparound balcony, oh the wildlife he would see! His favorite were the whales jumping right at the back of the ship. He enjoyed his weeklong Shasta houseboat trips and his Colorado hunting trips, his only regret that he never shot an elk.
Chief Benedix was born on February 19, 1933 to Edwin “Doc” and Freddie Benedix. He lived his entire life in Valley Home. He learned to work hard at a young age and never stopped. He was a rice farmer, following in his dad and uncle’s footsteps. He served his community with love and pride, being the Valley Home Fire Chief. He was asked what are your memories, good and bad about the Fire Department; he replied: “I gave 50 plus years serving and doing what I love for the town I was raised in, biggest honor was being Fire Chief for an awesome Volunteer Fire Department, I had the best of the best firefighters, and for that I am thankful. I guess the saddest moment was when I was released and one of my proudest moments was when all my firefighters stood by my side and resigned one by one … out of honor and respect. And now that my health is failing I am having to get assistance from the Fire Department … now and then they still call me Chief!”
Cindy also remembers that 23 years ago, “Dad was told that he had 13 months to live (due to cancer); as you can see he fought hard and won many more years! It wasn’t always easy and the treatments made him sick … but he still in his ‘grumpy way’ made time for family and fun!”
To say he will be missed is an understatement, but he will still send down his love (and sometimes disapproval) one feather, one penny … one sign at a time.
I think if you ask most people “What do you remember about Jerry?” they would tell you … “his middle finger hello!”
Cindy offers this final thought: “Goodbye dad, you rest easy now … we got it covered down here.”
Services will be held with a viewing at Oakdale Memorial Chapel on Thursday, February 23, 2023 from 3 pm to 7 pm.; graveside service and burial will be at Burwood Cemetery, River Road at 10 am on Friday, February 24, 2023.