Donald M. Benack, Jr., lifelong resident of East Syracuse, passed away Thursday, March 20, 2014 at Crouse Hospital. Don was a graduate of East Syracuse Minoa High School, Class of 1970, and was the son of the late Elizabeth (Ball) and Donald M. Benack, Sr.
Don enlisted in the US Army following high school and served in combat during the Vietnam War where he was awarded the Air Medal for meritorious achievement in 1972. He retired in 2005 after 26 years as a Deputy Sheriff with the Onondaga County Sheriff's Dept; Don was frequently on patrol in the Mattydale area where he earned the honorary title of the "Mayor of Mattydale" by the Mattydale Volunteer Fire Dept. Since 2007, he has been the Village Justice for East Syracuse. Don was the CEO and co-founder of the Vietnam Veterans CNY Foundation, the Past President of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #103. He founded and chaired the Vietnam Veterans Annual Golf Tournament at Pompey Club for the past 16 years. Don was also a member of the VFW Post #9596 on East Taft Road, the Syracuse Chapter of the D.A.V., the NYS Magistrates Association, and a former member of St. Matthews Church in East Syracuse. Don was the recipient of the State Legislature Resolution Pro Bono Award in 2011. He was an avid hunter and had taken many deer in the Southern Tier to prove it.
Donald is survived by his wife of 23 years, the former Kelly (Grems); three children: Donald M. (Marilyn) Benack III of Gainesville, VA, Alisha Benack, living at home, and Jolene (Patrick) Fish of Syracuse; his three granddaughters: Emily, Katie, and Elizabeth; two sisters: Marie (Dan) Wuethrich of North Syracuse, and Sharlene (Martin) Wallis of Cicero; several nieces and nephews; and his lifelong friends: Carl Reschke of FL, James Glassford of East Syracuse, and Bernie Reschke of Mexico. No closer friends a man could ask for.
Contributions in Don's memory may be made to the Mattydale Volunteer Fire Dept., 173 East Molloy Rd., Mattydale, NY 13211.
Friends may call on Monday from 3 - 7 pm at Krueger Funeral Home, 2619 Brewerton Rd., Mattydale. Funeral Services are Tuesday, 10 am at the funeral home.