In Memory of





Obituary for John M. "Jack" O'Benar

John (Jack) M. O’Benar was born on February 28, 1932, in Chicago, Illinois. In 1956, he moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where he met his wife Erna Retzer. For decades, Jack worked as an English teacher and librarian at the junior and senior high school levels for the Hickman Mills School District. He also worked as a librarian in the periodical department of the Mid-Continent Public Library at the Independence Branch. After his retirement, Jack enjoyed gardening and community involvement. He took great pride in the natural rock wall terraces that he built in his backyard bordering a beautiful park. His love of gardening led him to become a 500+ hours volunteer at Powell Gardens. For years, he donated his time to the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival in Kansas City. He loved working crossword puzzles and attending lectures at Rockhurst University and the Linda Hall Library. He always looked forward to the annual Annunciation Greek Fest in Kansas City. He was an active member of the Kansas City Lyric Opera Guild and an aficionado of classical music. Jack enjoyed woodworking and often gave his handmade birdhouses as gifts. Most important, he put family and faith above all. The week before he passed, he visited with Pastor Keith Klockau and quoted in Greek Luke 23:46, “Father into Thy hands, I commend my Spirit.“ His faith was loyal and strong. His daughter Renée credits her dad for her love of words, classical music and ethnic foods. His daughter Jacquie is grateful that her dad taught her how to love, how to treasure every moment spent with family and how to stand up for what's right. Grandson Jason cherishes the long bike rides, fossil-hunting trips and hours of laughter provided by Poppy’s sharp sense of humor. Granddaughter Nicole loves her memories of sledding with Poppy, walking along the railroad tracks and traveling down the block to feed carrots to piggy Arnold. Toward the end of his life, when Renée or Jacquie or the nurses would come in to fluff his pillows and tend to him, they’d ask him “Are you comfortable?” And he’d answer “OK… for now.” So in thinking about all the sacrifices he made for them and all the love he showed them, his daughters want to say in parting “Thank you. We love you and bye-bye, Dad . . . for now.” Surviving are his daughters, Renee (Dick) Daniels and Jacquie (Jeff) Snow, both of Kansas City, MO; and two grandchildren, Nicole and Jason Snow. He was preceded in death by his wife: In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by his mother Jay O’Benar and brother Harvey O’Benar. Renée and Jacquie wish to thank Brookdale Hospice Overland Park and Nurse Next Door Lee's Summit for all of their caring and immeasurable support during their dad’s last days. Funeral services will be 10:00 a.m., Thursday, October 3, 2019 at the Speaks Suburban Chapel with burial to follow in Memorial Park Cemetery. The family will greet friends from 6 to 8:00 p.m., Wednesday evening at the chapel. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at (Arrangements: Speaks Suburban Chapel (816) 373-3600)