My sister Stephanie Carol Benzon. Born September 22, 1974 at 2:32pm. Stephanie weighed 7
lbs 1 oz and was 19 ½ inches long. Not much different than any other newborn. Little did
anyone know at the time how special Steph was and how many people she would touch, inspire
and love. Mom described Stephanie when she was born as “a beautiful baby girl with dark
brown hair. The first word Steph spoke was “ma” and as we all know she was most definitely a
From the beginning Stephanie was going to face challenges and have obstacles to overcome.
There was little faith from the experts on what Steph would be capable of. Mom and Dad were
told that Steph would most likely never be able to walk or feed herself and they recommended
putting her in an institution. I don’t think they knew who they were talking to when they said that.
It was never going to happen. Stephanie was a blessing and she was going to be loved and
cared for just like any other child. As a matter of fact Mom and Dad stayed with and cared for
Stephanie her entire 45 years on this earth. They knew Stephanie was special and no one was
going to take that away. My parents were also told that they shouldn’t have any more kids. It’s
pretty obvious what mom and dad thought about that. I’m extremely grateful that mom and dad
did not take that advice. We were all blessed to be a part of Stephanie's life and she taught us
how to love unconditionally, be patient and stand up for what’s right. We were proud to have
Steph as our sister.
One thing we looked forward to every year was missing a day of school to go support and cheer
on Steph at special olympics. Her events were always the walk, softball throw and frisbee toss.
As we were looking through pictures the other day we came across one at Special Olympics
where Stephanie was doing the walk event. Mom told the story about how in that picture it was
the first time Stephanie walked it by herself without someone holding on to her. She pushed
away the hand that was helping her and finished the race on her own. The excitement that day
was incredible. Stephanie was not going to let someone else tell her what she was or wasn’t
capable of doing. Stephanie competed in Special Olympics beginning when she was only 3
years old and went to State Special Olympics at UCLA twice. She racked up numerous medals.
Stephanie looked forward to this every year, not only so she could compete but to be able to
support her friends as well.
Stephanie was stubborn. For as little as she was if she didn’t want to move she could make
herself as heavy as a bus. Along with that stubbornness she was smart and sneaky. That bus
could become a feather with the promise of a cheeseburger (her favorite food), going to the
movies ( with dad), going to church, or going to program. Those were her favorite things to do
and she looked forward to them each week. There was a time when Stephanie had surgery on
her feet. During her recovery Steph would still go to program and Dad would have to carry her
on and off the bus every day. It came to a point where Mom and Dad were wondering why the
recovery was taking so long. Stephanie should be walking on her own by now. Well, after talking
to Stephanie's teachers it turns out Stephanie had been walking around just fine at program.
That day as Stephanie was sitting on the bus patiently waiting for dad to come pick her up and
carry her in the house, to her surprise dad came on the bus and told her he knew she could
walk and wasn’t going to carry her. Of course she stood right up and walked off the bus.
Stephanie loved riding the bus. If there was an option to ride the bus or have someone drive
her, the bus won every time.
Stephanie loved going to school and program as she got older. I remember walking the halls in
high school and passing by Stephanie occasionally with her classmates and being able to say
“hi” to her. I was blessed to be an aid in her class my senior year. Although I was paired up with
one of Stephanie's classmates, I was able to see my sister everyday at school enjoying her time
with her classmates.
Stephanie was on the volunteer crew and the main bread bagger for Meals that connect both at
the veterans center in pismo beach and for the seniors nutritional program in oceano where she
would assist in the process of delivering meals one by one to local seniors in the community.
Stephanie averaged around 10 hours per week participating in this daily process. During this
time Stephanie learned the importance of helping her community. Stephanie also collaborated
with parks and recreations during Easter yearly filling eggs for the park events. She would take
individual pieces of candy and fill thousands of eggs during this process over several weeks.
Stephanie was well known around the five cities areas and a valued member of her community
where she had a reputation of putting people before herself.
Steph had a great sense of humor and loved roller coasters. She would go on any roller coaster
at any amusement park. I love the story of Kristi and Stephanie riding space mountain together
when they were younger. Kristi screaming the entire time while stephanies sitting right next to
her laughing hysterically. Stephanie would find humor in someone stubbing their toe, falling or
running into something. My favorite story to tell is one day as we are driving to church in our big
blue 15 passenger van Stephanie decides it would be funny to open the front passenger door
while on the freeway. As everyone is freaking out in the car Stephanie is laughing. What a
sense of humor she had.
The ultimate stubborn but selfless move was not taking her last breath on this earth until each of
her siblings were able to say their last goodbyes. She knew we needed that. My sister had a
heart of gold. She wanted everyone to be happy. If you were sad she was sad with you. If you
were upset she was upset with you. If you were happy she was happy with you. We are all
going to miss these moments we shared with Stephanie
You are such a bright light in our hearts. There will be many memories that will remind us of you
in the years to come. As many times as I saw and heard the movie “the wizard of oz” playing in
the background I will never get tired of that movie. We are blessed and grateful for the time we
had with you on this earth but we know you are in a better place where there is no pain or
sorrow. We look forward to the day we meet again. Until that time we want to let you know we
love you and you will be missed.
The private family graveside service was held at the Arroyo Grande Cemetery, in Arroyo Grande on Saturday, August 29th.
Memorials in her honor may be sent to PathPoint, 775 W. Grand Ave., Grover Beach, 93433.
Stephanie Carol Benzon: Celebration of Life
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