Age 55, Stephen unexpectedly passed away on Thursday, April 3, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Neva M. King of Albuquerque; mother, Eva M. Parker; children, Allison N. Parraz, Leslie S. Benavidez; grandchildren Dominic, Jude, Addison, and Ruby; siblings Bernadette Vadurro, Ben Benavidez, Annette Stephens, and Anthony Benavidez; many nieces, nephews and friends. Steve was preceded in death by his father, Nap Benavidez and nephew; Michael Ortiz.
Steve proudly served as a Sergeant in the United States Air Force. He was a parishioner at Risen Savior Catholic Community and formerly a parishioner, lector, Eucharistic Minister, Scholarship Committee Member, and Youth Group Minister at Aquinas Newman Center. He was active in his profession as a Project Manager Team Leader for SW District, Trane, with an MM98 Mechanical Licensure. Steve was a former president of the NM Chapter of the Association of Energy Engineers; member and scholarship chairman of ASHRAE; and served as a committee member at CNM. He selflessly donated 70+ gallons of blood in his lifetime to United Blood Services and during his military service. In addition, he gave one of his kidneys to his brother.
Steve was a NAUI certified scuba diver since 1979. He was a competitive racquetball player, earning first place state titles in 2010 and 2011, and second place in 2013. He coached his two daughters in little league and coached/played competitive slow pitch softball, leading his team to an undefeated season (16-0). Always a loyal fan of the New Mexico Lobos Basketball team and the Dallas Cowboys, Steve loved sports throughout the years.
He was passionate about many facets of life. Since the age of 13 he walked 30+ years to Santuario de Chimayo, a 26 mile pilgrimage. He was known for his infectious laugh and humor. He always lit up a room with his smile. His kind and generous nature made him a leader by example. Steve was a very intelligent man who loved to read. Always a gentleman, he never missed an opportunity to cherish his wife, Neva, and his love for her was evident to all. Being a grandfather meant the world to him. He was his grandson Dominic’s role model and he never missed an opportunity to show his love and support. The legacy Steve leaves behind is an enduring love for his wife, family and friends.
Rosary will be recited Thursday, April 10, 2014, 6:00 p.m. at FRENCH – Wyoming. Friends may visit beginning at 5:00 p.m. Mass will be celebrated Friday, April 11, 2014, 10:00 a.m., at Risen Savior Catholic Community, 7701 Wyoming Blvd. NE. Interment will follow at 2:15 p.m. at Santa Fe National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Stephen E. Benavidez Scholarship for Energy Engineers. Checks may be mailed to Attn: NMAEE, 2600 American Rd. SE, Suite 360, Rio Rancho, NM 87124.