Michael (Mike) Benestante

Profile Updated: June 30, 2019
Residing In: Houston, TX USA
Spouse/Partner: June
Homepage: mikebenestante.com
Occupation: Self-Employed
Children: 3 children: Joanna 35, Michael 33, Abby 31
*Joanna is married and lives in Norfolk, VA with More…her husband Robert and their three sons: Theo and Wyatt (3.5) and Charlie (1.5)
*Michael and his wife Laura teach school in Riga, Latvia
*Abby is married to Jacob and they have three
children: Stella (almost 4), Lillian (1.5) and Jacob (5 weeks)
Military Service: Defense Department  

It's hard to believe I haven't updated my profile in four years. Suppose the years are accelerating while we are deteriorating! The most noticeable change in my life has been a proliferation of grandbabies the last few years. They are the source of most of our joy and happiness. With the spirit they provide, we can focus on the more daunting task of rejuvenating our minds and bodies.
I am fortunate enough to continue friendships with several high school buddies which has kept the old high school memories fresh if not enhanced. Also have been blessed to become acquainted with classmates who were only names and images in school and now have become friends through social media and our reunions.
How lucky we were to have attended high school at the peak of the cultural revolution in our country and matured during the technology revolution (true, some of us haven't completely matured). Regardless, I look forward to our forthcoming fiftieth rendezvous as a magical moment on an endless voyage. Pardon the philosophy; I have been in a reflective mood recently!
From what I have heard about our next gathering, it will be the most memorable and perhaps the best attended of all. Can not wait to hear the new ideas and information regarding the 2020 reunion. It will be difficult to top the 45th gathering, but somehow/someway, Terry and her troops will accomplish that feat.
It will also be fun to reflect on our senior year fifty years ago as the months and days counted down to our graduation. My, we do have a lot to look forward to!

School Story:

Will reserve the right to relive the stories when I recollect them...

Attending Tailgate Party (10/16/15)


Attending Waltrip Class of 1970 45th Reunion (10/17/15)


Attending Reunion


Michael (Mike)'s Latest Interactions

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Aug 26, 2020 at 11:11 AM

Happy Birthday, Steve! Hope your day goes well. Maybe we can hook up before October of '21.

Jun 03, 2020 at 3:33 AM
Sep 12, 2019 at 3:33 PM

I met Claudia while at Waltrip where we shared a couple of classes. Though we exchanged pleasantries, I didn’t get to know the real Claudia until our senior year. It was at Saint Ambrose catechism classes that we got acquainted.

There were only a handful of students in our class so the opportunity to interact was inevitable. Saturday afternoon theology class wasn’t the coolest activity for seventeen-year old’s but somehow in her own way Claudia stuck out with her opinions and smile. Her brashness in challenging the clergyman on antiquated religious matters I recall vividly. She was different than a shy kid who often looked at the clock for the hour to be over.

We didn’t meet again until  three years later where at the Galleria we had a chance encounter. I was working at the Houston Oaks hotel as a bellboy while attending Saint Thomas majoring in nothing. Ms. Korczynski was also an undergraduate student, but her future was solidly laid out. She was going to nursing school and was committed to that endeavor. At some point she mentioned that she was looking for a job at one of the boutiques. Having a good relationship with a restaurant manager at the hotel, I suggested to try there. A couple of weeks later she came by the service desk in the uniform of a Coffee Garden waitress! It was from that point forward that I got to know the real Claudia.

We dated for two or three months. My memory of her personality included outspokedness and humor with a tad of sarcasm thrown in. In particularly I recall her gift for conversation and her ability to out talk me (no simple feat). Opiniated and assertive, she was unlike any girl who I had known with my limited social life. I was a little intimidated as well.

One evening sticks out in my memory that involved another classmate, my best friend Mike Kalousek. Michael asked Claudia why she was so certain about nursing school. Her answer was typical “Claudia”, “Well, I already bought the shoes”. We were both stumped as to whether she was putting us on or indeed she owned a pair of nursing shoes. Years later I finally figured out that it was a bit of both her humor and intelligence. She used those shoes as a motivation factor to attain her degree. At the end of the summer we went our separate ways, largely due to the fact that Claudia was much more intelligent than me and  the maturation process had escaped me to that point.

Earlier this year we connected through Facebook and continued our friendship. Her wit and humor were still obvious, and she was well informed on entertainment and the environment. In early August I contacted Claudia to invite her to the Oak Forest Original’s reunion. She declined and mentioned that she had a procedure scheduled soon thereafter and didn’t want to push it. We caught up on our families, and I learned her husband had died much to young.

Later that month she expressed in detail her struggles with various afflictions. I tried to empathize the best that I could but much of her explanation was over my head and technical since she was drawing knowledge from 30 some odd years as an emergency room nurse. Later while at MD Anderson for the operation she sent a correspondence which left me in awe of her courage. Later still Claudia sent a final correspondence which demonstrated both contentment and peace. Despite the cancer and another debilitating disease- she was brave.

Claudia was one of a kind. Although she experienced early departure, she lived a full life. Through her family, our classmate will have an enduring legacy with children and grandchildren. Sorry for being so wordy, but Claudia left a positive impact on me that I won’t forget. To express humor throughout one’s life and to possess faith during our final challenge is something we can only admire and hope to imitate. I feel fortunate to have known her and to have benefitted from her attributes.


Jun 30, 2019 at 11:13 AM
Michael (Mike) Benestante changed profile picture. New comment added.
Aug 02, 2019 at 5:11 PM

Posted on: Jun 30, 2019 at 10:48 AM

Michael (Mike) Benestante added a photo to profile gallery.
Jun 30, 2019 at 9:13 AM
Jun 03, 2019 at 3:33 AM
Dec 31, 2018 at 6:59 AM
Michael (Mike) Benestante posted a message. New comment added.
Aug 03, 2018 at 9:30 AM

Posted on: Jul 31, 2018 at 1:05 PM

Happy Birthday, Craig! Hope it was a memorable one.

Michael (Mike) Benestante posted a message. New comment added.
Jul 22, 2018 at 8:09 PM

Posted on: Jul 22, 2018 at 6:12 PM

Welcome aboard to the coolest reunion website! Hope you can make the big 50th reunion.

Jun 29, 2018 at 3:11 PM

Happy Birthday, Wanda! Have a memorable celebration.

Michael (Mike) Benestante posted a message. New comment added.
Jun 11, 2018 at 3:27 PM

Posted on: Jun 09, 2018 at 6:26 AM

Welcome aboard the Waltrip website, Steve! Look forward to seeing you soon...:)

Jun 03, 2018 at 3:33 AM
May 11, 2018 at 11:15 AM

Hi Tim, I couldn't let your 66th birthday go unrecognized...
Happy Birthday, Timmy, hope your day goes well
and that you have a nice celebration***

Mar 16, 2018 at 5:00 PM
Michael (Mike) Benestante has a birthday today. New comment added.
Jun 03, 2017 at 4:07 PM

Posted on: Jun 03, 2017 at 3:33 AM

Michael (Mike) Benestante posted a message. New comment added.
May 12, 2017 at 12:05 PM

Posted on: May 11, 2017 at 3:31 PM

Happy Birthday, Timmy Garcia! Hope you have a memorable celebration tonight. Maybe bring us a W from the Toyota Center...!

Michael (Mike) Benestante posted a message. New comment added.
Jan 14, 2017 at 4:27 PM

Posted on: Jan 14, 2017 at 2:12 PM

Happy Birthday, Frank! Haven't seen you on Facebook recently but I want to wish you the best in 2017. Hope you have a big celebration and a memorable day.

Jun 03, 2016 at 3:33 AM
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Posted: Jun 30, 2019 at 9:13 AM