Cover photo for Joseph Benamati's Obituary
Joseph Benamati Profile Photo
1935 Joseph 2023

Joseph Benamati

August 23, 1935 — November 23, 2023

Homer City

Joseph “Joe” Frank Robert Benamati, SFC Ret., 88, of Red Barn passed away, surrounded by his family, at Beacon Ridge Health Care Center on Thursday, November 23, 2023.

Joe was born August 23, 1935 in the mill town of Monessen, PA, Westmoreland County, the son of Thomas/Tomaso and Netta Marguerite “Ann” (Dini) Benamati.  As an infant, the family moved to the farm in the Red Barn area of Center Twp/Homer City, PA.  Joe lived on the farm property most of his life.

Joe’s words, “For an uneducated Farm Boy (I was very poor at book learnin’) I led one very interesting life, did and accomplished things I never would have dreamed I could do”.

Joe was proud to say, and said it quite often, “I was a Farm Boy”.  A lot of the skills he learned on the farm from his immigrant parents and Shop Class carried him through life.  He graduated in 1953 in the first graduating class of the newly formed Laura Lamar High School, Homer City, PA. He majored in General Shop/FFA/Ag Class.  Shortly after graduating, he lucked into a job as a water boy/gopher on a construction job with Dill Construction from Latrobe, PA. Using those skills, he worked his way up the ladder quickly.  He retired 43 years later as a Union Journeyman Carpenter General Foreman.  Joe considered himself a craftsman, handyman, and gadgeteer and would say, “I can build you something out of nothing.” In those 43 years he learned most of the trades in the commercial/industrial construction industry.  He designed and physically built the home for his family.  It was built in the old apple orchard on the farm.  After retiring, Joe with his wife Martha toured most of the lower 48 of this good old U.  S. of A.  They loved visiting museums.

Joe and Martha also enjoyed Friday and Saturday night Polka and Square Dancing.

Joe was an avid Olympic style rifle shooter.  He became interested in rifle shooting as a mere child with a BB gun, his targets, rodents on the farm.  He started his competitive marksmanship career at age 17 with the old Homer City Junior Rifle Club. Over the years he shot in a number of different rifle leagues in Western PA. He was noted for his excellent Off Hand/Standing shooting and was considered the shooter to beat.  Joe shot more than his share of perfect scores. He was a charter/life member and helped organize the Red Barn Sportsman Club. He put forth a lot of effort into keeping the sport of marksmanship alive in the area. He designed and engineered the building for several rifle ranges in the area, the Burrell Township Rod and Gun Club and the Rifle Range in the Sportsman Barn at Mack Park Indiana, PA.

Joe served in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and mustered out after 21 years as Sergeant First Class (SFC) serving as the Dining Facility Manager (“Mess Sgt”) for the 28thSignal Battalion. In the National Guard, Joe wore two hats. Because of his excellent marksmanship, he was also assigned to the 28th Division, Service Rifle Team.  He was known as the “Shootin’ Cook”.  After competing on the division team for 15 years, he qualified for the newly organized “prestigious” All National Guard International Rifle Team, “The All-Guard Squad” for another 6 yrs.  He also did time on the 28th Division Pistol Team and was assigned to the newly organized PA State Anti-sniper team (today’s SWAT Team). In over 60 years of competitive shooting, in both military and civilian categories; he won numerous local, state, military, and national championships in both individual and team categories. He held the highest award in marksmanship; the Gold, Distinguished Rifleman Badge.  He also earned the Presidential Sports Award for shooting. Starting as a mere teenager himself, he organized and coached a number of Junior shooting programs for schools, youth groups, guns clubs, and his independent club, the Indiana County Junior Shooting Program.

Joe followed his wife and children into The Boy Scouts where he served for more than 40 years as an adult volunteer, serving in many positions from Scout Master up to and including the Council Executive Board.  Here he handled the Co-ed Exploring programs for more than 10 years. On the religious side of Scouting, he was a member of the Greensburg Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting, where he had served as Chairman.  He was also a life member of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting for boys, serving on the emblems committee. He attended the BSA, Philmont training center and staffed the National Boy Scout Jamorbees regularly. In the Scouting program, he was recognized with numerous local, regional, and several national recognitions. He was a Vigil member of the Order of the Arrow.

Joe was a life member of the National Rifle Association and held a Certified Rifle Instructor and Certified Instructor Trainer certificates. He helped raise funds for the NRA Foundation to further programs to teach firearm respect and marksmanship to young people.

Joe’s other hobby was cooking. He organized and cooked fundraising and banquet meals for many of the organizations he was a member, and some that he wasn’t. He organized and cooked the BBQ chicken dinners for the weekly family-nights at Seph Mack Boy Scout Camp for more than 20 years. He also did the weekend cooking for the Order of the Arrow.

Joe was a member of Our Lady of the Assumption Roman Catholic Parish. He had served as a Eucharistic Minister and assisted with major maintenance projects in the old St. Louis Parish. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Sacred Heart of Jesus Council 10960, Lucerne Mines, PA, where he served as a Grand Knight several times. He was a Sir Knight in the 4th Degree.

He was a member of the Kiwanis Club of Homer City for more than 45 years and held various positions including president.

He was a life member of the American Legion Post 493, Homer City, PA and the Good Sam RV Travel Club.

Joe is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Martha Louise Lucas Benamati (who he met in 1st grade), and 4 of his 5 children Netta Benamati; Joseph Benamati II and his wife Janet; Marcia Amero and her husband James; William Benamati and his wife Melissa; and a son-in-law Douglass Fitzsimmons.  He was a Pappap to Sarah Benamati, James II and Elizabeth Amero, and Josephine Benamati. He is also survived by two siblings, Judith Ann Kokolis and Melvin Benamati.

He was proceeded in death by his parents, his daughter Victoria Benamati Fitzsimmons, and 3 siblings (Elizabeth Gazza, Angelo “Pete” Benamati, and Thomas Benamati Jr).

Friends will be received Tuesday from 2-4 and 7-9pm at Bowser Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., Homer City.  A Blessing Service will be held Wednesday at 10am at the funeral home followed by a Funeral Mass at 10:30 at Our Lady of the Assumption Roman Catholic Parish, Lucerne Mines Site.  Interment to follow in the St. Louis Cemetery, Lucerne Mines, PA.

In lieu of flowers, remember the Boy Scouts of America, Girls Scouts USA, or the NRA foundation.

His family would like to thank the staff at Beacon Ridge Health Care Center for their dedication in making his final days comfortable.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joseph Benamati, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, November 28, 2023

7:00 - 9:00 pm (Eastern time)

Bowser Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc.

4606 Old US Highway 119 South, Homer City, PA 15748

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Blessing Service

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

Bowser Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc.

4606 Old US Highway 119 South, Homer City, PA 15748

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Mass

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Starts at 10:30 am (Eastern time)

Assumption Church in Lucerne Mines (PA)

, Lucerne Mines, PA

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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