Florante Reyes Benitez obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Florante Reyes Benitez

June 17, 1945 - December 3, 2013

Obituary


Florante Reyes Benitez - world traveler, handyman, amateur photographer, and corny joke-teller - passed away on December 3, 2013.

Born to the late Azarias Benitez and Felicidad Reyes on June 17, 1945, Florante was the 8th of the Benitez clan, preceded by Mario (deceased), Dante, Cesar, Elsidita (deceased), Virgilio, Leticia, and Ariel, and followed by Carmencita, Edilberto, Reynaldo (deceased), and Jaime. Born and raised in Cavite City in the Philippines, Florante learned the solid values of "family first" and "cherish what you have," a legacy he would impart on anyone who knew him.

Florante Reyes Benitez - world traveler, handyman, amateur photographer, and corny joke-teller - passed away on December 3, 2013.

Born to the late Azarias Benitez and Felicidad Reyes on June 17, 1945, Florante was the 8th of the Benitez clan, preceded by Mario (deceased), Dante, Cesar, Elsidita (deceased), Virgilio, Leticia, and Ariel, and followed by Carmencita, Edilberto, Reynaldo (deceased), and Jaime. Born and raised in Cavite City in the Philippines, Florante learned the solid values of "family first" and "cherish what you have," a legacy he would impart on anyone who knew him.

Joining the US Navy in 1964, Florante left the Philippines for the glamorous life of a soldier, being deployed mostly in the West Pacific, serving in the Vietnam War, and finally being stationed in beautiful Hawaii, where he met his life partner, Corazon Laja Lantin. He fell for her contagious laughter; she fell for his somewhat shy personality, and from then on you could hardly find them apart from one another. They said their vows November 15, 1975. Corazon gave birth to their son, Robert John, in 1977, the same year that Florante was stationed in San Diego. Corazon gave birth to their daughter, Patricia Ann, in 1982, and Florante proudly retired from the US Navy in 1984.

From then on Florante served the US once again as a letter carrier for the US Postal Service, every day putting miles under his feet, outwitting unwelcoming dogs, and braving election and holiday seasons for 21 years, until his retirement in 2005. At the same time, he taught himself how to repair and build anything through Time Life books, laying brick and cement and flowerbeds, transforming his family's house into a home. Anything his wife insinuated they should pay someone else to do, Florante would take as a challenge, drawing up blueprints and loading his beloved 19-year-old Toyota truck with building materials, always saying, "I'll do it!" It may have taken years for projects to be completed, but they were done with such professionalism and finesse, Cora often conceded, in hindsight, that his way was the best way to get things done.

Florante set the example for delayed gratification, working hard for a lifetime, and constantly putting others first. He worked a double career in order to provide for his family, putting his children through college, saving for the future, or for events unknown. Once Cora retired in 2006, you could find them always together, laughing and holding hands. They were like teenagers, always going on dates to various casinos and buffets. They traveled both near and far. They went on a National Park tour, Florante feeding the local wildlife behind his wife's and the park rangers' backs. They visited Vatican City and saw the pope. They went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, visiting the pyramids, Mt. Sinai, and Petra, among other places. They went on 5 cruises to Alaska, the Mexican Riviera, the Caribbean, the Panama Canal and Central America. Florante experienced everything behind the lens of his camera, wanting to capture everyone's joy and all the wonders of the world he saw; he was blessed and wanted to share it with everyone.

Facebook was his second best friend; he reached out to family and new friends, sharing photos, always typing messages, meticulously making lists of people he wanted to respond to, tag in a photo, or share a life in Candy Crush. Although he was a man who was comfortable in his quiet, alone time, he wanted to share his stories, his jokes, and his experiences with all his loved ones so they could feel they were living his life with him, and to remind them he was always there for them.

A viewing will be held Thursday, December 12, from 5-9pm at Glen Abbey in Bonita at 3838 Bonita Road. The funeral service will be held Friday, December 13, at 11am at Corpus Christi Catholic Parish in Bonita at 450 Corral Canyon Road, with burial service at Glen Abbey Memorial Park to follow.