Passed away peacefully on April 29, 2021 at 93 years. Beloved husband of Magdalena (née Paupert), dear son of the late Franz and Katharina Benzinger (née Teubl), brother of the late Rosalia Pokorny, and special uncle to Mathias Pokorny. Proud father of Eleonora (2015) and Robert Mayer, Raymond and Pat Benzinger, Rita and Steve Winn, Claudia and Angus Francis, Walter Benzinger and Iuna Tomasini and Robert and Karen Benzinger. Loving grandfather of Christopher (Gabriella), Matthew (Marie), Andrea, Jessica, Alexander (Keshia), Sarah, Rachel, Cosette, Alexa, Michael, Sophia, Danielle, Maya, Joseph and Monica and great-grandfather of Miles, Lennon, Brynley, Finn, Hudson, Addilyn, and Gage.
Michael was a proud Donauschwaben, born in Batschsentiwan, Yugoslavia. Disrupting his studies at a seminary school, in 1944, he was interned in a Russian slave-labour camp, where he later met the love of his life, Magdalena. In 1950, they embarked upon their new life in Austria and started a family. In order to escape the Russian intelligence, he fled to Canada, where he later led a busy, yet inspiring life. Michael’s strong will was reflected in all his work – as an orderly at Hôtel-Dieu Hospital, in starting two small businesses, and at Sears Canada, where he worked as a maintenance supervisor up until his retirement in 1991. His work ethic and determination are greatly appreciated and recognized in the movement of gaining full government funding for the Catholic schools of Ontario. Michael was a loyal and dedicated member of St. Michael’s German Catholic Church for 66 years – it cannot be a coincidence that the two share a name. In Rome of 1978, Pope Paul VI honoured Michael with Knighthood of St. Gregory the Great for “leadership in education and training of lay leaders”.
Michael’s smile warmed every room he entered. He could make any moment a humorous one when he shared his hidden talent – headstands. Whether the floor of a wedding hall or a wooden park bench, he was always ready to entertain. However, his favourite form of exercise was pushing the buttons of his photocopier to make dozens of copies of his children and grandchildren’s accomplishments. No one was without a copy. Michael was energetic and continuously carried a special spirit with him. Although he was often referred to as the Energizer Bunny, his contribution to holiday dinners did not extend far past exclaiming the words, ‘Feed the People’. But no one thought to touch a fork before he announced his trademark. And Opa, we promise to carry on your tradition.
We thank Michael’s caregivers at Sunrise Senior Living and Huron Lodge for their kindness, patience and compassion. Visitation will be held at WINDSOR CHAPEL (Central Chapel) 1700 Tecumseh Rd. East, on Tuesday May 4, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 Noon. A private Funeral Mass will take place at St. Michael’s German Church. Burial to follow at Heavenly Rest Cemetery. Reservations and masks are required to attend visitation. Please call Windsor Chapel between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to make your reservation. In memory of Michael, memorial donations may be made directly to St. Michael’s German Church. Online condolences and cherished memories may be shared at www.windsorchapel.com