Joseph Benich, 91, of Cave Creek, Arizona passed away on the morning of September 8, 2021. He was the beloved husband of Ami, father of Terri, Chris (Lynn) and Michael (Tricia), grandfather of Andrew (Jen), Samantha (Zak), Phoebe, Lina, Amelia and Elsa, and great-grandfather of Norah, Jude and Molly. He will be missed by all.
Joe was born in Cleveland Ohio on May 25, 1930, to John and Anne Benich. He was a proud graduate of Cleveland Benedictine High School, and Ohio University, where he achieved academic success and was also a student athlete playing basketball for both schools. Joe completed his Masters of Science at Ohio University in 1956, in Aviation Management, a growing industry that would provide him with not only a full career but a lifetime of travel.
From 1955-1970, Joe worked in the air transport industry in executive positions at General Motors Air Transport Section and Midwestern Airlines, and as a consultant to Omni Aircraft Sales in Washington DC and National Atmospheric Weather Service in Boulder Colorado.
In 1965, he capitalized on the growth and opportunities in ownership of commercial aircraft and founded Nomads Inc., an air travel club that operated out of the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Joe served as President and COO of Nomads, acted as trip director to over 60 countries and traveled over 1 million miles with his wife Ami at his side as Chief Flight Attendant, until he retired in 1995. Joe was most proud of circumnavigating the globe on three “Around the World” trips with the Nomads, as well as commissioning the Concorde for five flights from Detroit to London, with a return trip on the QE2. He truly gave his family “the world” and a lifetime of travel memories.
Joe also served in the US Air Force Reserve, retiring as a Lt. Colonel with 22 years of service. As a private pilot, he was a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, and built two aircraft, 1958 Baby Ace, and in 1962, a Volmer Amphibian.
In 1995, Joe and Ami returned to one of their favorite travel destinations, Arizona, and retired in Cave Creek to enjoy the desert climate. Joe enjoyed helping Ami in the yard, feeding the hummingbirds and quail, watching for roadrunners and owls, and relaxing in the pool. They had many welcome visits from family and friends, and all will remember that he was always ready to share a sweet treat at breakfast, and a glass of wine and some peanuts at Happy Hour. A life truly well lived, and well loved, with his beloved Ami at his side.
A chance to visit with family and pay respects to Joe will be on Sunday September 19, from 4pm-7pm at Messinger Mortuary Pinnacle Peak. A Catholic funeral mass will be held on Monday September 20, 2021 at 10:00 at Our Lady of Joy Catholic Church, following a praying of the rosary at 9:30 am. The family will host a luncheon at the church hall, following the Mass. Internment will be at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona at 1:30 pm.
The family requests that masks be worn at all gatherings to ensure the safety of our loved ones.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the St. Mary’s Food Bank https://www.firstfoodbank.org/ or Foothills Food Bank https://foothillsfoodbank.com/ in honor of Joe, who was always thankful for the blessings he had and wanting to help others to provide for their families.