Yampa resident Mike Benedick died March 5, 2003, in Steamboat Springs, Colo. He was 94.
Benedick was born Sept. 3, 1908, in Leyden, Colo., to Polish immigrants Stephen and Katherine (Szewczk) Bidnik. He was raised and attended school in Dacono and Fredick, Colo.
He began working in the coal mines at age 14. He married Emily Kiddie on June 30, 1928. They lived in Oak Creek and in Craig before moving to Yampa 66 years ago.
Benedick was working in the mines in Oak Creek and helping in the saloon owned by his brother-in-law in Yampa when, in 1937, he bought the saloon and, with his wife, began operating it as the Antlers Cafe and Bar. The couple ran Antlers for 65 years until ill health forced them to close it. They had the longest continuously owned liquor license in the state of Colorado.
During World War II, coal became a much-needed commodity in the fight against the enemy and Benedick did his patriotic duty by returning to work in the underground coal mines to help fill in for the younger miners who had been called to war. He worked day shifts as a pit boss in the mines in Oak Creek and then returned to Yampa at night to run Antlers. He also found time to raise a large victory garden. Toward the end of the war, when the United States Armed Forces were calling for more man power, Benedick enlisted in the Navy and was sent overseas. He was always very proud of having served in the United States Navy.
An avowed Democrat, he was active in local politics to the extent that he would change his party affiliation to help support and elect anyone who he felt would serve the public with diligence and integrity — always returning to the Democratic party after the election.
In addition to being a member of the America Legion, he was also a member of St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Oak Creek. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, gardening, raising farm animals and playing cards.
Benedick is survived by his daughters Paula (Lou) Wyman, of Craig, Twila (Tom) Evans, of Fort Collins, Colo.; daughter-in-law, Shirley Benedick, of Lakewood, Colo., sister, Pauline Rowland, of Denver, Colo; 12 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; niece, Helen Lewis; and a nephew, Ronald Anderson.
He was preceded in death by his parents, three sisters, one brother, his son, Paul (Sonny), and his wife, Emily.
A Mass of Christian burial was March 15, 2003, at St. Martin’s Church with Msgr. George Schroeder as the celebrant. Anne Carr was the organist.
Pallbearers were A.J. Sanborn, Guy Sanborn, Mark Benedick, Frank Sanborn, Louis Wyman, Kim Sanborn, Tom Evans and Mike Benedick.
Honorary pallbearers were Arthur Wyman, David Wyman and Thomas Wyman.
Interment was at the Yampa Cemetery with graveside services by American Legion Yampa Bird-Howe 189.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Martin’s Church, Doak Walker Care Center or the charity of your choice, all in care of Grant Mortuary, 621 Yampa Ave. Craig, CO 81625.
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