John M. Benedict, 92, passed away peacefully on Thursday, January 31, 2019, at Oakwood Hills Retirement Community.

He was born in Minneapolis, MN on April 12, 1926, to Samuel and Hildreth Benedict. As a young boy, John’s family moved to Eau Claire. John graduated from Eau Claire High School in 1944. He went to work for his father at Benedict Sales & Service in 1942. In 1957, Samuel Benedict retired and sold the business to his three sons. Soon afterward, Edward and John purchased brother, Robert’s share. In 1963, John and Edward divided the company with Edward taking over the home appliances and John continuing with the commercial refrigeration. John owned and operated Benedict Refrigeration Service, Inc., until his retirement in 1994. Being a second generation owner, it was always a source of pride that today Benedict Refrigeration Service, Inc., is working into the 4th generation of family ownership.

On December 17, 1949, John married Yvonne (Bonnie) Bye. Together they had a daughter, Julie and a son, Tim.

John was involved in many local organizations over the years, including Jaycee’s, Eau Claire Builder’s Exchange, Chippewa Valley Technical College Advisory Board and Tyler Refrigeration Advisory Board. However, his passion was to the Shrine as a member of the ZOR Temple. He was a 32° Mason culminating his service as the Potentate of ZOR. He was also a member of the Mehara Shrine Club Drum Corp and was often found marching out of formation and entertaining the crowds.

In his younger years, John was a member of the Town of Washington Fire Department.

Over the years, John had a love of cars and in one five-year span bought and sold 75 cars.

John and Bonnie converted two buses and later had many motorhomes that took them throughout the US and Canada. They were charter members of the Family Motor Coach Association. Retirement brought many years of wintering in Briny Breezes, Florida. John and Bonnie also spent many wonderful summers with friends and family at their cottage on Lake Wissota, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

John treasured his time hunting with his son and grandsons. He was well known for his sense of humor and storytelling – John had the ability to make everyone around him smile and was loved by all.

John is survived by his daughter, Julie (Lee) Wilcox of Black Mountain, NC, son, Tim (Amy) Benedict of Eau Claire, WI, grandsons, Tony (Andrea) Benedict of Eau Claire, WI, and Luke (Courtney) Benedict of Altoona, WI; great-grandchildren, Emelia, Eli and Asher; step grand-daughters, Elizabeth Wilcox of Madison, Wisconsin and Sarah Borrelli of New Zealand; Sisters-in-law, Marian Benedict and Eva Benedict; as well as many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Bonnie, parents, an infant (stillborn) daughter, Susan; his brothers, Edward and Robert; his sisters- and brothers-in-law, Delores and Ronald Hillestad and Donald and Mary Bye.

Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at 11 a.m. at Spirit Lutheran Church, 1310 Main Street, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, with Pastor Jim Ahlquist, officiating. Visitation will take place on Monday, February 4, 2019 from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at Smith Funeral Chapel and at 10 a.m. prior to the service at Spirit Lutheran Church.

The family would like to thank the staff at Recover Care and Oakwood Hills Retirement Community for the wonderful care given to John.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children, 2025 E. River Parkway, Minneapolis, MN 55414. Family and friends can leave condolences online at Smith Funeral Chapel in Eau Claire is assisting the family.


  1. I had the pleasure of taking care of John’s beautiful wife Bonnie at the Fall Creek Valley Care Center. John was always one of my favorite visitors 🙂 He had the best smile and laugh, and gave the greatest hugs! You could easily tell how special Bonnie was to him..he loved her so much. I’m sorry to read about his passing…my condolences to all of the family.

  2. What can I say about John? My dad was Bob Donaldson, and the bond the two of them shared was strong. I loved John’s sense of humor. He truly was a great friend. He rode with us to the cemetery when we buried dad. He told me they met in orchestra and John convinced dad to come to Fournier’s with him on Friday nights. What fun! Now they are at peace together. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  3. My sincere condolences to Julie, Tim & Amy, and all the grandchildren & great grandchildren.

    The Angels of Heaven are rejoicing with the arrival of your Dad and Grandpa.

    It’s probable, I first met “Mr. Benedict” on one of the proudest days of his life … at Sacred Heart Hospital … in the mid 50s.

    In the late 80s, Bonnie and John were our “RV neighbors” at The EAA Airshow in Oshkosh.

    Bonnie and I recognized one another, almost instantly, even though we hadn’t seen one another for 15 years. For me, it was like bumping into a long lost friend.

    Mrs. Benedict had been instrumental in my success at Memorial High School. Turns out she picked a great husband, too.

    John could see we were friends and joking inquired as to how I knew HIS wife.

    I teased him by saying, ‘I met both of you the day I was born.’ Bonnie laughed, gave him a second clue and his laughter had us all laughing even harder.

    R.I.P. Mr. Benedict and thank you for your service to our community and for sharing your wife with the students of MHS.

  4. Dear Benedict family, in this time of heavy hearts, know that our family is there in support of yours. As you know, John went way back with Gus, Karl and Madeleine; she still remembers the time with John and Bonnie fondly. What a trailblazer in our industry and a great family man: celebrate his life and rich legacy that he left for you! All our love and prayers, The Larsons

  5. You couldn’t enter the Benedict house without John asking how you were and having a fun story to share. His smile and laugh always made you feel comfortable! Thank you for the wonderful childhood and teen memories John Benedict. No doubt you are still a powerful, positive personality in heaven.

  6. Our sincere sympathy to the family. Us kids remember John and Bonnie very fondly from the times they spent with our Mom and Dad, Karl and Sylvia Kohlhepp, both gone many years now. We pray your memories are the best.
    – Lynn, Jeff and Lisa Kohlhepp –

  7. Tim, Amy, Tony, Lucas, and family, Your Father/Grandfather lead a long and fulfilling life. His cheerfull personality and great smile will certainly be missed by all who knew him. You were fortunate to have him in your lives. My condolences to all of you.

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