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Mr. David Ray Benke

July 2, 1939 January 6, 2020
Mr. David  Ray  Benke
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Obituary for Mr. David Ray Benke

David Ray Benke, passed away January 6, 2020. Although David was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1939, his family moved to Charleston when he was very young, so he always called Charleston home. His parents were Mary Belle Hutto Benke and Robert Anthony Benke. David was predeceased by his three older siblings: two brothers, Robert Anthony Benke, Jr. and William Thomas Benke, and his sister, Barbara Benke Smith. David never married; and, although he did not have children of his own, he had six nieces and nephews: Nancy J. Smith and Joan S. Bozzone of Aiken; Victor E. Smith of Orangeburg; Marjorie S. Warhurst of Ponte Vedra, Florida; and Michael O. Benke and Robert D. Benke of Charleston.   In Charleston, David attended James Simmons Elementary School and graduated from Rivers High School. He was a talented athlete from a young age and often spoke of his happy childhood playing sports on the Hampton Park Playground.  Like many children who grew up in downtown Charleston, he was an accomplished "half rubber" stickball player and street skater. As a teenager, David spent time at his grandparents farm on James Island, helping care for the livestock and developing a lifelong love of animals. He raised pigeons as a hobby for several years. When he got older, he became quite proficient at shuffleboard and shooting pool, much to the dismay of his opponents who may have lost money in bets!   David joined the U.S. Coast Guard as a young man and was stationed in Woods Hole, Massachusetts; in Charleston; and onboard the icebreaker, Eastwind, in Antarctica. He loved the outdoors and the ocean, and served years in the Merchant Marines, supplying naval ships all over the world. His favorite assignment was "driving the boat," and he became very proficient at reading the weather from cloud formations and movement. He lived near Folly Beach for over 20 years and moved to Aiken in 2019 with his beloved cat, Ginger, to be closer to family members as his health declined.   Private funeral arrangements for the family will be held in Charleston with internment at Live Oak Cemetery.


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