Joseph Benedict, a beloved San Lorenzo Valley educator, died this month. He was 88.
Mr. Benedict moved to Santa Cruz County 50 years ago with his late wife, Kathryn. He served as director of instruction and superintendent of San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District and was later principal of Quail Hollow Elementary School.
Mr. Benedict was born in Great Falls, Mont., where he developed a lifelong love of the outdoors. He enjoyed hiking, skiing, camping and fishing with friends and family. He was a proud member of the Sierra Club and supporter of numerous conservation groups.
Mr. Benedict was an Army Air Forces fighter pilot in World War II, serving in the Pacific Theater as a P-47 Thunderbolt pilot in Iwo Jima. He later received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University, his master’s degree from California State University, Long Beach, and his education doctorate in reading from University of Northern Colorado.
Before moving to Santa Cruz, Mr. Benedict taught at elementary and secondary schools in southern California and was a rural supervisor, curriculum writer and proficiency test developer in several northern California counties. He was active in the International Reading Association and Phi Delta Kappa; he was also a member of the group that established the Association of California School Administrators.
Mr. Benedict remained active in retirement, serving on the Board of Bay Federal Credit Union and working with Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries, where he met his second wife, Margaret Waller Benedict.
He is survived by his wife of 15 years, Margaret Waller Benedict of Aptos; children, Kent Benedict and his wife, Paula, of Aptos, Dana Benedict and his wife, Michelle, of South Lake Tahoe, Carolyn Baird and her husband, Charlie, of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Barbara Kimball and her husband, Spencer, of Soquel; stepchildren, Kirk Waller and his wife, Caren, of Encinitas, Dan Waller of New York City and Mike Waller and his wife, Helen, of Santa Cruz; and more than a dozen grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
No memorial service is planned.