Currituck – Norman Benner died on June 19, 2021, in his home in Currituck, NC, at the age of 91 years. He was dubbed “The Resurrection Man” by his wife of 46 years, Janie, because of the many times he seemed to recover like a phoenix from the ashes after one serious illness after another. He was a resilient man who gave his all to a project. His project for the last number of years of his life was to live so he could be the support his wife, Janie, needed.
Norm is survived by his wife, Janice Benner, his daughter and son, Laurie and David Benner of Los Gatos, Ca, and his step-son, Kevin Baiko, of Currituck, NC.
Norm and Janie and their two dogs, Button and Monte, landed in Currituck after surviving the Paradise, CA Campfire, with the few belongings they quickly packed in their car and drove across country to build a new home on their son (Kevin) and daughter-in-love’s (Michelle) property in Currituck.
Norm was born in San Jose on February 24th, 1930 to Irma and Lester Benner. His family moved to San Francisco when he was very young and he grew up there. Norm attended San Francisco State College with a major in Music. During the Korean Conflict, Norm enlisted in the Army and was stationed at the Presidio in San Francisco where he played Bass Trombone with the 6th Army Band and this is where he took up the art of musical instrument repairing. Norm practiced his art by repairing instruments of the band members. After his enlistment was up, Norm finished college and then set up a music store and repair shop in San Francisco, where he began his long career of repairing all types of musical instruments.
Norm delighted in his children from his first marriage, Laurie and David, and when he met his second wife, Janie, he also took on the love and support of a father to her son, Kevin, when Kevin was five years old.
Music was not only his career, but his hobby. He loved to perform, especially singing and playing blues guitar and singing talk songs. In addition to playing the trombone in a big band, where he met his wife, Janie, he also played every other instrument (brass, woodwind, strings) as he needed to test the instruments he repaired. He and Janie performed together in the Nomads Big Band, where Norm was the leader/director. Norm loved playing the guitar the most and he loved to entertain people, especially by a campfire. Norm also loved fishing and boating and camping.
In his later years Norm had to give up playing guitar because of neuropathy, but he found that he could hold mallets to play the hammered dulcimer so he bought one and started to teach himself so he and Janie could still play music together.
Norm became a Christian at the age of 80 years. He finally realized how important it was to Janie that they “were equally yoked” and he made a covenant with her and God to study the Bible. His friend and mentor was Bill Jamerson, a retired SDA pastor, who gave him Bible Studies and led him to a personal relationship with Jesus. In 2010 Norm was baptized and Janie was re-baptized in the Paradise SDA Church. In typical Norm Benner fashion, he studied and catalogued his religious studies to share his findings with others. He also spent countless hours transcribing and arranging Christian hymns for Janie to play on her harp.
A small Celebration of Life with family in North Carolina will take place at their homestead in Currituck, North Carolina. A second celebration of life will also be planned sometime next year at Mount Madonna County Park in Santa Clara County, California, at the place where Norm and Janie and the family joined many friends playing music and singing by a campfire. Norm will be sorely missed by his wife and family as we await the soon return of Jesus to take us all home to live together with Him in heaven.
Words of sympathy and comfort are welcome via the on-line register at www.gallopfuneralservices.com. Gallop Funeral Services, Inc. was entrusted with arrangements.