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Gary Ray Benson

SEPTEMBER 11, 1940 - OCTOBER 2, 2010


Succumbing to his fight with pancreatic cancer, Gary Ray Benson, father, grandfather, and devoted husband, passed away peacefully October 2nd. He was 70 years old.

Gary was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma to Cecil Benson and Wanda Monteiro in 1940. With his brothers Jan Allan Benson and Toby Monteiro, along with his sisters the late Sandra McCarty and Lana Marie Thieme, he spent his childhood in Oklahoma before moving to Oakland in 1956. In Oakland, he met his wife Margarita Bargas, and although he spoke little Spanish and she spoke even less English, the two began a lifelong romance that lasted more than 50 years, producing 5 children, including Lisa, Gary Jr., Christine, Sabrina and Mark. Gary's children had children of their own, making Gary, the patriarch, also had 14 grandchildren and one great grand child. Later in life, he fathered two more children, Marlon and Marisa. He also had two Goddaughters whom he loved, Deanne Pereyra and Rhonda Scott.

Gary was a lifelong entrepreneur, with a passion for business born of necessity. As a teenager he worked full time to support his single mother and brothers and sisters. At the age of 16, he was the senior manager of the Oaks Hotel in Oakland. Through the years, he patented several inventions and founded many companies in his constant pursuit to be his own boss and build his own company. Gary was a maverick. With a passion for gospel music, Gary was also an amazing singer and songwriter. Family and friends would often hear him singing "For the Good Times" or "House of the Rising Sun" at family celebrations, neighborhood restaurants and at various lounges when he lived in Las Vegas. Besides music and entrepreneurship,

Gary also had a passion for horse-racing and would spend hours studying the racing form with his brother Jan and occasionally his father. His interests in music and horse-racing drew him to the city of Las Vegas where he often vacationed with Margarita, eventually renting an apartment in Las Vegas. Transcending his interests in entrepreneurship, music and horse-racing, was his love for Margarita (a.k.a. "Goti-Go") his lifelong partner.

Gary loved traveling with his wife of 50 years and despite their personal challenges, he remained committed to his wife and his family till the very end. Gary died in Margarita's arms at 9:44am Saturday morning, October 2nd, 2010.

A viewing will be held at 4:00pm on Thursday, October 7th at Sorensen Holy Angels, 1140 B Street, Hayward followed by a vigil service beginning at 6:30pm. Funeral Services will also be held at Sorensen Holy Angels the following afternoon, Friday, October 8th at 1:00pm.

Holy Angels Funeral & Cremation Center - FD1456

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