Local politician dies of cancer
by Joel Danoy
Oct 15, 2012 | 5470 views | 16 16 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tom Benigno answers a question during a February 2012 interview. Benigno died Wednesday, Oct. 10.  Press file photo
Tom Benigno answers a question during a February 2012 interview. Benigno died Wednesday, Oct. 10. Press file photo
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Thomas A. Benigno, a steady figure in local politics in San Joaquin County for years, died Wednesday, Oct. 10, of cancer, according to family.

Benigno’s son Chris Benigno posted a short statement on his father’s Facebook page on Thursday, Oct. 11, announcing the news.

“Last night, at 11:15, my best friend, my hero, my father fell asleep forever after battling cancer. He was an incredible man,” he wrote.

The Tracy Press learned of Benigno’s death Monday, Oct. 15, and is working to independently verify the information.

Calls to Benigno’s cellphone were not answered Monday.

Benigno recently ran an unsuccessful campaign for the office of San Joaquin County 5th District supervisor. He was eliminated from the race after finishing third during the June 5 primary.

In April, the then-75-year-old gave a spirited performance during a Tracy Press-sponsored supervisors political forum against opponents Bob Elliott and Rhodesia Ransom.

A lifetime Californian, Benigno farmed for decades in the San Joaquin Valley and had more than 55 years' experience in the retail and wholesale produce and grocery industry.

Benigno also ran for 5th District supervisor in 2008 but was defeated by Leroy Ornellas. He was unsuccessful in a 2006 campaign for the 19th Congressional District and a 2004 bid for the mayor’s seat of Tracy.

Comments
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istewart
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October 20, 2012
I, too, will miss Tom. He, my grandfather, and I met many times at various civic functions and Tracy Press forums, and Tom took the time to honor my grandfather's passing in 2005 with a letter to the Press. Like many, I didn't agree with everything he said, but that was the point... Tom genuinely wanted to engage, and he staked his position clearly. He was the sort of genuine iconoclast whom I believe our public dialogue is all too often missing.
rayderfan
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October 19, 2012
RIP Mr. Benigno. You were a true gentleman and an avid believer in the democratic process.

May your family find peace during these difficult times.
debbdaves
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October 19, 2012
Might have been nice if we showed the same amount of respect and compassion expressed by some of his verbal adversaries below while he was still around. Ironic how quick we are to judge, label and despise when someone with a different view point is alive, and how we quickly assume a more forgiving and patronizing tone when the person is gone. None of us matter to him in anymore, he is in a better place surrounded with better folks I'm sure. Wonder if there is a Tracy in heaven? Wouldn't that be hell though?
backinblack
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October 19, 2012
Figures you'd be the one to bring a negative aspect to this story, nice going.
RedHotChilliPeppers
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October 21, 2012
debdaves,

I think you are being too harsh. I met Tom and found he was always eager to debate. You can't fault the man for that.

Remember communicating is a two way process.

Although we disagreed on some areas, I found that he took the time to listen to what you said.

I also told him that I respected that he ran for office, regardless of who I voted for.

I think he just wanted to make his point heard. And I think he did.

And if you heard his story you might know why.

RogerA
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October 19, 2012
Although, his political philosophy was different than mine, when I was running for the City council in 2006, Tom called me to give me his advice.

Tom was never hesitant about expressing his opinion no matter how others would perceive it.

And, yes he was a true gentleman!

My heart goes out to his wife and two children!

May he rest in peace!!

cmanne
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October 16, 2012
To Tom's family - our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Tom had a lot of passion and we'll miss reading his blogs.

God Bless,

Manne Family
Realintracy
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October 16, 2012
Rest in peace Tom. Condolences to Tom's family and all his friends. Like him or not, you had to respect his courage for voicing his opinion, challenging the status quo, and trying to do what he thought was the right thing.
monsterdad3k
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October 16, 2012
I never met him in person but whether you agreed with him or didn't he certainly had no reservations about sharing his opinions.

One of the true sh*t stirrer uppers here.

He will be missed by all us faceless anonymous creatures here on the TP web forums.

Condolences to his family.
RedHotChilliPeppers
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October 15, 2012
Well, you had to respect his zeal. That's for sure.

Yes, quite a shocke too.

RIP Tom.
backinblack
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October 15, 2012
Wow, I had to do a double take when I saw this on TP's home page. I only knew him from our many one on one go rounds on this website and by reading his comments, but from what I can tell he was always real and definitely entertaining. Some of the back and forth between Tom & Dale was pretty fun to follow. My sincere condolences to Tom's family and friends.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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October 15, 2012
And you can add me as third in wishing his family my heartfelt condolences. I too rarely agreed with Tom but I did respect him as well for writing under his real name vice being an unknown personality. Yes, he was a gentleman and treated his wife with the respect she rightfully deserved and that is a trait I admire. I, for one, shall miss him.
dcose
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October 15, 2012
Though Tom and I disagreed over many subjects, I respect him for using his given name when writing... and during the last forum, I watched him hold the door for his wife. A gentleman.

To his family, I am sorry for you loss.

Sincerely,

Dale Cose
doors17
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October 15, 2012
Nicely said, Dale.

I too would like to send my condolences and sympathy to his family and many friends.
jimf01
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October 15, 2012
Respect and love to the man and his family. RIP TomB
Icare!
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October 16, 2012
The Tracy Press---REALLY? "Calls to Benigno's cell phone were not answered?---REALLY? Anyway, the best to his family in this tough time I am sure.


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