Nov. 1, 1918 — May 9, 2013
Harold Benzel of Walla Walla passed away peacefully on Thursday, May 9, 2013.
Harold was born in the family home in Walla Walla on Nov. 1, 1918, to German immigrants, Jacob and Elizabeth Foltz Benzel. Harold attended Paine Grade School and graduated from Walla Walla High School in 1939. Harold married his beloved wife, Katherine Frank Benzel, on Nov. 10, 1940.
As a teenager, Harold worked for his father’s concrete construction business. Harold also worked for Safeway Stores in Spokane, Purity Market, Frank’s Grocery and Melrose Market in Walla Walla. In 1943, Harold was inducted into the army. He completed his basic training at Camp Van Dorn in Mississippi. Harold was sent to Italy, served as staff sergeant in the 85th Army Division. Upon his discharge, he purchased a food distributing business that he operated for 15 years, servicing grocery stores and restaurants in Walla Walla, Tri-Cities, Pendleton and surrounding areas. In 1962, the Benzel family moved to Redlands, Calif. Harold was employed as manager of Sliger’s Music Store for 14 years; returning to Walla Walla, he worked for Brumbach’s Music Store for a short time until retirement.
He loved music and for many years was organist and choir director for Peace Evangelical and Reformed Church in Walla Walla. He also directed the local Youth for Christ choir, and he and his sister, Frances Foltz, were sponsored at a local radio station, singing requests sent in by listeners. Harold’s radio show was called The Sunny Side of 8. Harold was a member of VFW, Blue Mountain Community Church and Blue Mountain Chapter of Germans from Russia.
Harold is survived by his children and their spouses, Steve and Nona Benzel of Walla Walla, Mike Benzel of Walla Walla, Mark Benzel and Kris Weatherill of Nashville, Tenn., and Jane and Luis Chaname of Moreno Valley, Calif.; eight grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; one great-great grandchild; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Viewing and visitation will be held on Monday, May 13, 2013, from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Herring Groseclose Funeral Home, 315 W. Alder, Walla Walla. A celebration of Harold’s life will be held at the Herring Groseclose Funeral Home on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, at 11 a.m. followed by military graveside service at Blue Mountain Memorial Gardens, College Place. Memorial contributions may be made to Blue Mountain Community Church, Blue Mountain Chapter of Germans from Russia, or charity of donor’s choice through the funeral home. Family and friends are invited to sign the online guestbook at www.herringgroseclose.com.