Benjamin Ismael Benavides, 65, of Aztec, New Mexico, passed away on December 21, 2022, in Farmington, New Mexico. Benjamin was born on November 14, 1957, in Moses Lake, Washington, to parents Ismael Cenovio Benavides and Valentina Marie Valdez.
Benjamin Benavides was many things to many people.
As a strong but gentle child, he was a protector of his younger siblings and cousins. He displayed a high intelligence and excelled in academic pursuits (where applied). Benjamin showed an early affinity for art and creativity, sewing outfits for his GI Joe action figures. He was also an athlete, wrestling and playing football. He loved nature and being outdoors in the Pacific Northwest, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America.
Benjamin’s adult life was characterized by family, work, and culture. He married twice and became a father to five children; certainly, the role he cherished most in his life. All the practice on those GI Joe clothes would come in handy as the family seamstress of Halloween costumes. But even after his own children were grown, he would become known as “Uncle Ben” to countless more. He worked as a pipefitter/steamfitter and eventually a stationary engineer before his retirement. Benjamin identified closely with his Indigenous culture, learning and teaching drumming/singing, drum making, jewelry and regalia making. He was often seen at powwows and other cultural celebrations.
Our father was an amazing man. Our hero. He had a childlike wonder and zest for life. He had an enormous heart and loved most everybody. He was a storyteller, actor, singer, drummer, painter. He was a reader, a builder, a mechanic, and an engineer, he was our handyman, shop teacher, and he instilled in us the value of hard work and “doing things right the first time.” He was an activist, teaching us to always stand up for the disadvantaged and to question authority and colonialism. He had a great sense of humor, and we loved making him laugh so much that he had to hold his eyes open.
Benjamin is preceded by his wife Raven Spurlin, parents Ismael & Valentina Benavides, brother Jose Molinar, sister Veronica Benavides, grandparents (paternal) Erasmo Benavides Del Toro & Alejandra Benavides Hernandez, grandparents (maternal) Thomas Jose Valdez & Estella Martinez Valdez.
Benjamin is survived by daughters Candice Benavides, Ayla Benavides (Ian Quesada), Valentina Benavides (Jesse Reeves), & Rami Spurlin, son Tony Spurlin (Monica Spurlin), brother Joseph Benavides & grandchildren Rory Springer & Elliott Spurlin.
Visitation took place on Friday, December 30, 2022, at 1:00pm, in Farmington, New Mexico.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, March 18, 2023, at 1:00pm, at The Intertribal Friendship House, 523 International Blvd, Oakland, California, 94606.
Ashes will be spread by Benjamin’s children in the mountains where he married his second wife.
In lieu of donations or flowers, Benjamin’s children ask that you share a favorite story or memory of him. Please add to the guestbook below or share your memories to firstname.lastname@example.org.