Benanav, Gary (73), of West Hartford and New York City, died on Sunday, August 25, after succumbing to complications from multiple myeloma, a bone marrow cancer. He was born December 12, 1945, in Tel Aviv, to Joshua and Aviva Benanav (née Isadora Rosen), whose extraordinary stories of survival during the Holocaust are forcefully told in Joshua and Isadora (Lyons Press, 2008), which was authored by Gary’s son, Michael. Gary immigrated to the U.S. at nine – the first of many long-haul flights he would make in his lifetime.
After earning his undergraduate degree from SUNY Buffalo and his MBA and JD degrees from Columbia University, Gary worked for Aetna (1972-1997), rising from corporate attorney to Executive Vice President, heading several divisions including property/casualty and international operations. He later became Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (International) of New York Life. He was appointed by President Bush (43) as a U.S. representative to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council and was Chairman of the Pacific Basin Economic Council.
Gary was an unpretentious man of great integrity. As a hands-on problem-solver with an incredible range of knowledge, he gladly served as first-responder for a large community of family and friends who called on him for everything from financial advice to help with car, house, or computer repairs. He loved traveling the world, with a particular fondness for road tripping to America’s national parks.
After being diagnosed with myeloma in 1981, Gary was treated by several outstanding medical teams, including those at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Mt. Sinai Cancer Center in New York and UConn Health in Farmington, CT. Successfully undergoing many leading edge therapies, he enjoyed a wonderful life, surviving far longer than his initial two-year prognosis. He is survived by his loving family, including Ruth, his wife of over 53 years; their three children, Michael, Tami and Steven and their spouses, Kelly, Jorge and Tina; his grandchildren David, Sara, Luke and Mila; his brothers, Jay and Dan, and their wives, Lucy and MaryEllen; and by five nephews. He was predeceased by his brother Jonathan and sister Tamar.
The funeral will be held on Thursday, August 29, at 10am, at Weinstein Mortuary, 640 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT, followed by burial at Beth El Temple cemetery, 51 Jackson St, Avon, CT.
The family will be receiving visitors at 11 Governors Row, West Htfd, CT, following services until 4pm, and Fri-Sat, Aug 30-31, 11am-4pm.
In lieu of flowers, please donate in Gary’s memory to the Multiple Myeloma Research program at Icahn Medical School/Mt. Sinai. Go to https://giving.mountsinai.org. Under “Direct my gift to” select “Other” then type “multiple myeloma” in the “Other Designation” box. Check the box indicating a memorial gift and fill in the blanks.