Joseph Anthony Benz | obituaries

Joseph (Joe) Anthony Benz, born on March 26, 1933, passed away peacefully on March 3, 2022. Joe was preceded in death by his parents August and Theresa Benz. He is survived by his nearly 67-year-old wife, Donna (McNett) Benz; and his children Joseph Benz Jr.; Charles (Kimberly) Benz; Rex (Peggy) Benz; Donald (Cathy) Benz; Shelly (Doug) Ruberg; along with five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Joe served in the Korean War from 1953 to 1955 and earned a sniper medal serving in the Big Red 1 based in Germany. Upon his return, he met Donna where they both worked at BF Goodrich in Cadillac. They later married in the fall of 1955. He worked at the Caberfae Ski Resort in the early 1960s and then joined the US Forest Service, where he worked for 35 years. What he loved most about it was not just the people he met, but the places he traveled while fighting wildfires in the United States. He also helped deliver the White House Christmas tree in 1988. Even in retirement he didn’t! He enjoyed hunting and fishing trips and built a workshop, using his love of wood to make and sell his woodwork. He spent many hours in his workshop tinkering, accompanied by Blackie the cat. She loved walking around Joe. He was also very proud to support local blood drives and donated over 39 gallons of blood to help save others.

In honor of Joe’s wishes, he is cremated and his ashes are scattered in the woods where he spent many hours each day. No funeral or memorial services are planned, instead we ask that memorial contributions can be made to the local community fire department on Joe’s behalf.

Condolences and memories can be shared online at

The family is cared for by the Hitesman-Holdship Funeral Home.

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