Jeff Benedict
1956 – 2024

Jeffrey Earl Benedict left the mortal realm on April 24, 2024. He was born in Seattle, Washington, on June 27, 1956, to Kenneth and Marjorie Benedict.

Growing up in the White Center area Jeff attended Shorewood Elementary, Cascade Junior High and Evergreen High (Class of 1974) and many of his classmates remained friends throughout his life. Since his earliest days Jeff was a fast and voracious reader. His teachers were always challenged to keep him engaged. As a youth he was a little taller and bigger than others in his cohort so he stood out. And he had his own ways of looking at life. Back when conformity and blending in was the norm he enjoyed being a little different. He was the kid with the bright red Hush Puppy shoes. He was the kid who debated the merits of the metric system with adult neighbors.

From an early age Jeff exhibited a keen intellect and a strong sense of curiosity. He was a tinker by nature. He was fascinated by how things worked, and took apart things as much, or more, than he put things together. While he embraced new technology he always experienced it within a context of old, retro tech. He had the most interest in the arcane and marginal hobbies whose history and traditions he researched extensively. He had an extraordinary memory. If you has a question about local maritime history, Pacific Northwest wrestling, West Coast radio and TV history, ham radio, drag racing, pre WWII Leica cameras or motorsports in general he could answer it.

When he was 7 or 8 a neighbor introduced him to shortwave radio listening by giving him an old shortwave receiver, complete with glowing tubes. Jeff would tune in far away stations late into the night. As he got older he learned the Morse Code and passed the test for various Ham Radio licenses. His love for amateur radio connected him with people from all walks of life and every corner of the globe.

He collected tools and ephemera relating to his hobbies. Jeff had radios in every room, cameras for every occasion, antennas for every frequency and always a motorcycle or two in the garage, usually in some state of overhaul or upgrade. Film cameras, remember them? He was still developing film just weeks before he passed.

In high school he wanted to be involved with athletics, but didn’t have the skills, so he signed up to be equipment manager for the track and cross country teams. Once he got to UW, he followed a similar path and managed to find himself as a student assistant to the coach of the rowing crew. This role was instrumental in Jeff’s personal development and he made lifetime friends. Living at the UW’s Conibear Crewhouse was a formative experience. As a coach’s assistant the responsibilities he was given were broad. He had never driven a boat before, but now he was in charge of the coach’s launch where he had to maneuver in tight quarters, avoid swamping the rowers in their shells, and keep Coach near his rowers. He learned boat maintenance skills, mechanics, wood working. And all the traditions and glory of being part of a historic championship group of young men.

His passion for literature and history was only matched by his dedication to sharing that passion with others. For 27 years, Jeff served as a respected and beloved English and History teacher at Chimacum High School. His intelligence, quirky sense of humor and kind nature made him a favorite among students. He was not only a teacher but also a mentor and friend to many of his students, guiding them through the intricacies of academia and the complexities of life. Numerous notes were sent since his passing with comments like “Mr B. had a profound impact on my life when I most needed it.” And “Mr. Benedict made history fun.”. At CHS he created, sponsored and starred in the annual Peep Fest spring celebration.

Jeff was loyal, to a fault. He developed diverse communities. Every 10 years he was deeply involved in planning and presenting his high school class reunions, including the 50th which he planned to attend this fall. He maintained his connection with his UW Crew buddies for nearly 50 years. And he carried on correspondence with former students for decades.

He took special interest in his nephews, Ian and Matthew, especially in their younger years.

Memorial Will be Saturday, June 29

Jeff’s life will be celebrated in a memorial event from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 29th, 2024 at the UW Waterfront Great Room, 3710 Montlake Blvd NE, Seattle, WA.

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1 Comment

  1. That was a very well written obituary for Jeffrey Benedict. I had the pleasure of being Mr. B’s student in high school. He was a phenomenal teacher. He will be missed sorely.

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