MUNISING, MI. - After several years of illness, Dr. James Edward Benam, age 87, died peacefully Thursday, July 17, 2014.
He was born on January 15, 1927 in Cincinnati, Ohio to the late Elmer and Mary (Espel) Benam. Jim graduated from Purcell High School and served in the U.S. Air Force for two years before attending and graduating from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Jim spent the next four years in Chicago at Loyola University Dental School. He married Jeanne Kollath on June 7, 1952 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He moved to Munising on November 1, 1954 with Jeanne and their infant daughter Deb, and started his dental practice on November 30, 1954 and continued until 1994. Forty years ago, there were few specialists, so Jim did it allroot canals, extractions, etc. He listened to concerns of patients and gave them options. Jim's mission was to give the best dentistry, but at an affordable price. In later years, Jim was one of the only few dentists that would take Medicare or Medicaid. Jim never turned anyone away and patients came from all over the U.P. He was active in church, the Knights of Columbus, served as a Eucharistic minister, and never found a reason to miss Sunday Mass. Jim was a former Rotarian, School Board member, Chamber of Commerce member, and member of the American Legion Post 131. He worked for twenty years for the Pictured Rocks Road Race and thirty-six years as a Munising Housing commissioner. Jim attended Superior District American Dental Association monthly meetings and served as one year as President and one year as Secretary/Treasurer. Jim loved his family, church, friends, travel, golf, and in his later years, winters in Florida making model boats, swimming, and golfing. He was a good man, a just man, an honest man, and a happy man. Jim is survived by his wife of sixty-two years Jeanne Benam of Munising; children and spouses Paul and Karen Benam of Green Bay, WI, James Bradley and Angela Benam of Los Angeles, CA, Lisa and Joseph Stasiuk of Cayman Islands and Marquette, MI, John and Teresa Benam of Marquette, MI Mary and Arthur Carolan of Middleton, MA, Elizabeth Benam and Toby Sprunk of Eagle, CO, and Walter Vollenweider of Munising; eighteen grandchildren Maury Ledesma, Bradley Ward, Hans Vollenweider, Jeff Vollenweider, Megan Benam, David Benam, Michael Benam, Jennifer Torez, Frankie Sarnieto, Kristie Borquez, Mistie Barelo, Peter Stasiuk, Alexandra Stasiuk, Jason Benam, Jamie Benam, Patrick Carolan, Emily Carolan, and Beverly Carolan; and nine great-grandchildren. Jim was preceded in death by his parents Elmer and Mary Benam, his in-laws Albert and Evelyn Kollath, brother and wife Paul and Laura Benam, and daughter Deborah Benam Vollenweider.
Services will be held on Monday, August 4, 2014 at Sacred Heart Church at 11:00 a.m. Father Chris Gardiner will celebrate Jim's memorial Mass. A luncheon and time of fellowship will take place in the parish hall following Mass. Donations in Jim's memory are requested for Sacred Heart Church Youth Fund. His obituary and guestbook may be viewed and signed at bowermanfuneralhome.net