08/20/1922 – 07/08/2014
Arthur Benkaim passed away at home on July 8, 2014 from kidney disease. He was born in Scranton, Pa to Harry and Molly Benkaim. He had two siblings Ralph (deceased) and Jack (deceased). Arthur was a WW II vet and a Bronze Star winner. He graduated from Penn State University In 1946. Arthur joined the family business running a chain of women’s clothing stores. Arthur met Nancy Wienberg and they married in 1954. He then opened his own chain of women’s clothing stores in Erie Pa. Arthur and Nancy had two children Michael and Shelly. Arthur sold his business in Erie and moved his family to Santa Barbara in 1971. He purchased ex-mayor Jerry Firestone’s store and created a very popular women’s clothing store on State Street named Benson’s. Arthur sold his store in 1980 and began a very fruitful retirement. He joined the Sierra Club and began hiking all the local trails. He soon became a hike leader. Arthur liked hiking the local trails so much he wrote a book about them in 1986 called Santa Barbara Trail Guide. The book can still be found in local book stores today. Arthur donated all funds received from the book to the local chapter of the Sierra Club. Arthur also volunteered for the local recycling center, the Friends of the Santa Barbara Library and Cottage Hospital.
Arthur is survived by his son Michael, his daughter Shelly, daughter in-law Clare Benkaim, his step grandchild Jamie Mederios, his step great grandchild Angelina Mederios, and sister-in-law Cathy Benkaim. He is predeceased by his wife Nancy.
Arthur was very civic minded. He dedicated his retirement years to the City of Santa Barbara which he loved. He was also a nature lover and he respected all living creatures. He will be dearly missed.