Robert Clarence Benafel, 1920-2019, passed away peacefully on July 23rd in Portland, Oregon, after 99 years of active life.
He is survived by eight sons and daughters, and ten grandchildren.
Robert “Bob” Benafel grew up in Los Angeles, CA, the son of Norbert Benapfl and Yvonne Genin. He attended St. Brendan’s Grade School from 1925-1933, and graduated from Fairfax High School in 1938. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1938 and received an honorable discharge in 1945, as a Chief Radioman, with loyal and obedient service on the U.S.S Talbot (1940), and the U.S.S. West Virginia (1940-1941). Bob was one of the last remaining survivors of the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor and Kaneohe Bay Naval Station on December 7, 1941.
In 1946, Bob married Elaine Dolores Kanaly (1925-2014) and fathered nine children: Douglas, Christopher, Kathleen, Patricia, Paul, David, Laura, Mary and Eric.
A self-taught engineer, he pursued consultant opportunities throughout his nomadic career with companies such as Raytheon, Pacific Automation, Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, Lockheed Aircraft, Douglas Aircraft, and Mcdonnel Douglas. In 1971, he moved his family to Tiller, Oregon, and worked for Hanna Nickel Mine in Riddle, Oregon from 1972 to 1985.
Bob was an avid amateur radio enthusiast (W6STN, NB7J), volunteering to establish a Marine Affiliate Radio Station (MARS) in 1968-70, and providing voice communication between U.S. soldiers in Vietnam and their families located in Southern California. Throughout his life he maintained an international network of amateur radio enthusiasts, supporting local radio clubs, emergency services, and science and technology innovation. He was a member of the Half Century HAM Alliance Association (HCHA), Navy League of the U.S.A., Institute of Radio Engineers, American Ordinance Association, American Radio Relay League (ARRL), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Knights of Columbus, the National Rifle Association (NRA), and the Elks Club of Myrtle Creek.
Bob was laid to rest at the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon, where an honor guard ceremony will be held on October 18, 2019, at 1 p.m. There will also be a family memorial reunion held on October 18, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. Any correspondence, memories or stories may be sent to: David Benafel, 2352 Onyx Street, Eugene, Oregon 97403. firstname.lastname@example.org