LANSING, MI — Antonio “Tony” Benavides age 84, passed away with his beloved family by his side on April 10, 2022. Tony was born May 5, 1937, in San Vicente, Mexico, to Jesus and Maria Benavides.
Tony’s family came from Mexico in 1952 to become a part of the Lansing community. Tony’s parents set high expectations for their children, reinforcing these expectations with personal attributes of honesty, respect, personal pride, community participation, and commitment. Tony stood by these principles always.
Tony graduated from Sexton High School and attended Lansing Community College and Lansing Business College. He graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in public administration and management. Tony served as the executive director at Cristo Rey Community Center for 33 years, serving the needs of our Hispanic and the greater Lansing community.
He went on to proudly serve as Lansing’s 3rd Ward Councilmen for 22 years and in 2003 he was given the highest honor – serving as Lansing’s first Hispanic Mayor. As Mayor, Tony worked tirelessly to provide and improve social services to the citizens of Lansing. His calling in life was to serve the public, the community, and all of those in need; he spearheaded numerous initiatives and programs.
Tony celebrated his Catholic faith at St. Mary Cathedral, giving thanks to God for all His blessings.
Tony’s dedication as a long-time public servant earned him numerous awards and accolades over the years. He also sat on multiple boards and commissions for many organizations, including Sparrow Hospital, National Conference of Catholic Charities, United Way, and Hospice of Lansing.
Tony loved and adored his family. He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Carmen; 4 children, Sandra (Andrew) Reisz, Carmen (Mark) Dziewit, Ricardo (Cynthia) Benavides, Eduardo (Angela) Benavides; 7 grandchildren, Michelle, Michael (Amanda), Erin, Milan, Johann, Leonardo, and Casimiro; 5 great-grandchildren, Viviana, James, Vincent, Oliver and Lila; sisters, Helen Maysonet and Virginia Flores; and many nieces, nephews and other extended family. He was preceded in death by his parents, and siblings Rodolfo Benavides, David Benavides, Ofilia Reyner and Hector Benavides.
The Funeral Mass was celebrated at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 21, 2022, at St. Mary Cathedral, 219 Seymour Ave., Lansing, MI. The Rite of Committal was followed at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery. His family received relatives and friends from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20th at Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel, where the Rosary was prayed at 7:00 p.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Greater Lansing Food Bank.
Online condolences may be left for his family at www.EstesLeadley.com
Editor’s Note: Rina Risper, President & Publisher of The New Citizens Press wrote about the relationship she had with former Mayor Tony Benavides in the “Excuse me. Are you Listening?” column on May 1.