Benito “Benny” Salinas Jr. was called home by his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, at his home in Friendswood, TX, surrounded by his beloved family. Benny fought and beat aggressive prostate cancer in November 2014 and had been cancer-free for a little over three years when he started feeling ill in December 2017. He valiantly fought an unrelated and rare form of cancer, bile duct cancer within the liver, these past 15 months with determination to once again beat this horrible disease. Despite his fight, his love for life, and his desire to stay on earth with his family and loved ones, the Lord saw fit to have Benny in His Kingdom to serve as an inspiration of hope, determination, love and awareness instead.
Benny was a proud “BOI” born August 19, 1958 on Galveston Island near Texas to his incredible parents, Lupe and Benito Salinas Sr. Benny was the third of six amazing children who was raised in a close, loving and fun-filled household where his mom and brother still reside today.
Benny is preceded in death by his father, Benito “Benny” Salinas Sr.; sister, Sonia Perez; and niece, Crystal Lozano.
Benny is survived by the love of his life and devoted wife, Amy Salinas; son and #1, Gavin; mother, Lupe Salinas; sisters and brothers, Laura Lozano and husband, Danny; Victor Salinas; Bertha Riedel and husband, Mike; Diana Ybarra and husband Tino; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Shari Taylor and Steve Mordente; brother-in-law, Lee Taylor, Jr. and wife, Thelma; Nancy (Angel) Sliter and husband, Drew; nieces and nephews: Alicia Massey and husband, John; Stephanie Burns and husband, Will; Joseph Perez and wife, Christina; Luis Perez; Justin Riedel; Jessica Riedel; Stephen Ybarra; Daniel Lozano, Jr.; Dylan Ybarra; Breann Taylor; K’Lee Taylor; Cornelle Mack-Taylor; Jaycia Mack; and Elijah Atkins; great nieces and great nephews: Roderick “Rocky” Gasaway and girlfriend Cathy Creamer, Anjelica August and Ella Burns; and great great nieces, Lena and Jordan Gasaway.
Benny was a proud graduate of the Ball High School class of 1976. Many of his friends from middle and high school are still, 40 plus years later, some of the closest and most cherished friends he has. Neither distance nor years spent apart could keep this certain group of BHS Tors from getting together no matter what the occasion to laugh, tell stories and show love to one and all.
Benny’s strong work ethic started at a young age from custodian at Sea-Arama, to stocking groceries, to traveling tv cable salesman across the country to his longstanding career as Galveston’s Best Bartender. Benny’s best memories of his career were serving Galveston’s Finest, and tourists alike, the best drinks on the island beside his brother and best friend Victor at B’Jiggers on the Seawall for over 26 years. He was known for remembering not only your face but probably your name and definitely what you drank, whether he served you 5 months or 15 years earlier. Benny would say he was “World Wide” as he had so many friends and customers from around the world that would come back time and time again to see his smile and taste one of his famous drinks. B’Jiggers gave Benny the opportunity to combine his love of the island, people and great live music while earning a beautiful life for himself and his future family. Benny’s passion and “ear” for music earned him many long-standing and loving friendships with countless fabulous musicians over the span of his career and into retirement. Benny has always told Gavin don’t work because you have to son, work because you LOVE what you do, and Benny truly loved what he did in serving his friends on The Island.
Benny is a loving and devoted husband and best friend to Amy and an amazing dad, inspiration and role model to Gavin. He is a wonderful, dedicated and loved son and brother. Benny’s family was his prized possession and what inspired him to fight cancer full force not just once but two times within 3 years. Benny’s two “fur babies”, Chuy and Delylah, were his constant companions and in the end his devoted guardians who rarely left his side.
Benny loved the island he grew up on and everything about “island life”. He loved to surf, fish, skateboard, bike on the seawall, walk on the beach, tell people about Galveston and most of all just watch the sunsets. Benny had a love for travel from snow-capped mountains to other tropical or island and exotic destinations. His heart remained in Galveston where the salt water of the Gulf of Mexico ran through his veins.
Benny had a passion for the outdoors, games and sports especially his beloved Dallas Cowboys. Whether it was swimming the beach in Galveston or Hawaii, finding a watering hole in the hill country of Texas like Krause Springs or just a friend’s backyard pool, Benny loved the water and all the serenity it gave him. Playing little league and hitting numerous homeruns, playing Booray in his younger years, throwing darts as a Penetrator, shooting pool (and usually saying to those he beat “Rack Em”), or playing Chess at home Benny was always competitive. This is something he passed along to his son Gavin, being his sideline baseball coach, teaching him to throw darts, be a pool shark like dad and how to think out the next move in Chess. Benny was always trying to teach Gavin and anyone else who’d listen how to be the best at everything you do no matter what that is.
Benny is the person that always has a smile, a one liner/joke or hilarious story for all who would listen. Benny never met a stranger and if you thought you were at first, he could change your mind quickly. His amazing smile, charming personality and witty humor is just part of what makes him memorable and loved by so many. With a “cold one” in hand Benny would want to light up the pit while Amy cooked in the kitchen and Gavin helped prep so they could entertain family and friends or sometimes just the 3 of them alone. Benny loved to be around people, made sure everyone had a great time and laugh but most of all he showed us all just how to love the life you have and cherish it each day.
While Benny was not a member of a particular church, he was a baptized Catholic, a devout Christian and a Believer of Christ. He took comfort especially in his final months knowing that he would be welcomed in Heaven by his Lord and Savior and be whole, cancer free and spend eternity with his loved ones.
Honorary Pallbearers are Manuel Requenes, Roy Vargas, Tommy Pucciarello, David Flores, Denis Knight, and Alex Montemayor.
Benny, Amy, Gavin and the entire family would like to thank:
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center: Dr. Curtis Pettaway and staff who treated and cured Benny of Prostate Cancer in 2014; Dr. Milind Javle, Jacque Weatherly P.A and Nurse Ron and others who treated Benny with determination, dedication, laughter and compassion the last 15 months of his life and gave him 9 beautiful more months than expected.
Houston Hospice: Chaplain Dan for his conversations of music and healing peaceful prayers; the AMAZING Nurse Rebekah D. for her friendship, unconditional love, support, dedication, patience and straightforward care that she showed not only Benny but Amy, Gavin and the entire family the last 5 weeks of Benny’s life.
Benny’s family will receive visitors from 5:00 until 8:00 pm, Monday, April 15, at The Lyceum of Galveston, 24th & Winnie. A service celebrating Benny’s life will begin at 6:30 pm. In honor of Benny and his love of his island, please feel free to dress in your island best, island chic, or Hawaiian style shirt. Dallas Cowboys shirts are welcomed also, as Benny was wearing his when in his final transition from this world.
Funeral Mass will be 10:00 am, Tuesday, April 16, at St. Patrick Catholic Church. A reception will follow in the St. Patrick Parish Life Center.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that you please donate to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center or Houston Hospice and/or give blood to The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center.