We Remember

UPDATED: With a family response – BENSON, Garry Frederick

March 19, 1961 — October 8, 2022

It is with profound sadness that the family of Garry Frederick Benson announce his passing on October 8, 2022, at the age of 61 years, in Kelowna, BC.

A member of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Garry was born in Lac La Biche, Alberta, on March 19, 1961. Although Garry’s storied career includes government senior management, his true passion was for the law, which he began as a RCMP officer, later attending the University of Victoria to complete his Law Degree.

Garry was the founding partner of Benson Law, bringing together a skilled team to realize his vision of a full-service law firm that represented many clients throughout the Okanagan Valley. He practised law in Kelowna for over 20 years at his firm, including over 1500 hours of Pro Bono legal services. Garry’s legal achievements were acknowledged with a Queen’s (King’s) Counsel designation.

Garry was an extremely active volunteer in his community, often as a Board member, but also offering numerous organizations strategic advice and fundraising support to many organizations, including: Uptown Rutland Business Association, Rutland Park Society, East Meets West Orphan Foundation, and the Nature’s Trust. He was also a founding member of H.E.L.P BC, a member of the Central Okanagan Indian Friendship Center, and he volunteered with the Hope and Heal Foundation. Garry was the former Chair of Kelowna’s Economic Development Commission and a Director of the Uptown Rutland Business Association. Garry’s hard work didn’t go unrecognized, he received many awards and honours over the years, including: the Fred Macklin Man of the Year award, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pin, the Alberta Aboriginal Role Model Award (Justice), and the BC Achievement Community Award. Garry was also an Honorary Fellow of the Okanagan College.

Garry’s family (broadly defined) and friends remember him as an extremely charismatic, resilient, and generous man with a big heart. Garry always made time to take a call, have a visit, or to grab a drink at his “reserved” table at Cactus. He had a passion for hosting, where all were welcome into his home, to enjoy music, great food, fine drink, and great conversation, usually lasting late into the night. With such an expansive and eclectic group of friends surrounding him, there is no shortage of stories (wild or tame) and great memories of this powerhouse of a man. Garry also loved the outdoors; golfing with his friends; sausage making/canning; hunting with his family; ocean fishing trips; and travelling the world. Garry will always be remembered for his head-shakingly-bad, deserves a groan, “Dad Jokes”.

Garry is survived by his two children, Jaci and Aly; his five sisters, Marge, Bertha, Rose, Marlene, and Lavon; and six brothers, Mike, Don, Len, Allen, Willie, and Paul. Garry is also survived by his nieces, nephews, and close friends, many of whom he considered family.

Kitiwam asimina kawapamitan, Garry

We will be holding a Celebration of Life service on FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2022, at 10:15 AM, at SUNSET RANCH (5101 Upper Booth Rd S, Kelowna, BC). There will be an Elder run traditional Pipe Ceremony, for those wishing to attend. The main service will start at 11:00 am. Please join us in celebrating his legacy with wine, food, and conversations celebrating your favourite memories of Garry.

If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.


Family Response to those who helped them on the day of the Celebration of Life

Community and friendships were two essential pillars in Garry’s life. Because of the endless love and laughter that filled the air on Friday, the Benson family and all of his loved ones were able to celebrate his life so beautifully together and start to heal. Words can hardly begin to describe our thanks to everyone who attended and helped us. We hope that you in turn will feel some of the immense love we received from you all the next time the warm sun hits your face, or when you raise a glass in his name (hopefully at Cactus Club).

To the Elder, Bernie Makokis (with help from Gabriel Benson), who began Garry’s celebration of life through smudging, prayers, and the pipe ceremony, we greatly appreciate the education and grounding presence you brought, setting the perfect tone for the service. To those who spoke; Claire Janzen, Former Chief Chad Eneas, Tod Alstad, Allen Benson, Patti LaBoucane Benson, Ragwa Gopal, and Robert Tonsoo, we can’t thank you enough. To George Tuccaro, we thank you for honouring Garry by playing that incredible song for him. All of your words and songs will live on in our hearts forever.

To the staff at Springfield Funeral Home and Sunset Ranch Golf & Country Club: working with a family in mourning is no easy task, especially with the limited time you had to arrange everything, we cannot tell you how grateful we are to all of you. No matter how small the request, all of Garry’s, and the family’s, wishes were fulfilled. We felt well taken care of through the entire process, and knew that there was always someone we could rely on. Garry loved playing (the best he could at least) at Sunset Ranch, and we are thankful for everything you did to make it “his way”.

Hyi Hyi,
Jaci and Aly Benson

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2022, at 10:15 AM


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