Marvin Allen Bencich, age 60, died suddenly July 9, 2022, at his home in rural Paonia, Colorado. Born January 20, 1962, in Delta, Colorado, Marvin spent his whole life in Paonia.
His parents were Melvin Arthur Bencich and Eleanore Lilly Wade. Eleanore's great grandfather was Samuel Wade founder of Paonia. As a memento of the Wade heritage, among Marvin's possessions was Samuel Wade's Bible; as well as, a cabin- the oldest structure in Paonia- where his mother Eleanore was born. The cabin is located on the Black Bridge road property.
Marvin's older sibling was Michael Anthony Bencich (May 12,1960 - November 5, 2021).
Marvin had a deep pride in the Wade history and interest in the Paonia museum and history related to the town of Paonia. His interest to preserve any Paonia legacies spanned from collecting old telephone books, to mine stickers, to purchasing Cabin and a Clothesline. He had high hopes that the 1904-1960 Paonia newspapers might someday be digitized.
Attending Paonia schools he graduated in 1980. With a deep interest in photography, he took photographs for the PHS Eyrie yearbook. To capture Marvin's motivation and knowledge English teacher Marge Porteus encouraged him to write the Wade story.
Curiously, Marvin's brother Mike, who studied photography at Colorado Mountain College, shared Marvin's interest. They set up a studio at their Paonia childhood home. The house became a portrait studio, cropping and dry mount room, darkroom, including a refrigerator for high quality film and paper, plus storage for negatives and pictures. They experimented with various papers and techniques. Black and white 4 by 5 format film was their specialty.
Later, after digital cameras were available, they photographed wildlife in color around the Paonia area, Beaver and Overland Reservoir, Roaring Fork Valley and other natural settings. Recently, during 2020 covid, eagles along the North Fork River near Bowie, Colorado, were a favored subject. Their Toyota Land Cruiser took them to many off road places where wildlife and panoramic scenery prevailed.
Marvin, also learned woodworking in the Paonia High School shop. He built furniture and had the skill to produce custom cabinets. He also built an intricate grandfather clock while still in high school.
As a carpenter he was involved in many projects in the North Fork and Aspen area. Working with exotic wood- Zebra, Paduk, Jatoba, Tiger- made his pieces truly unique. Marvin built frames for Mike's portraits of Paonians connected to local history. These photographs were displayed in several art galleries and popular restaurants on the Western Slope.
Marvin spent a lot of time being a good brother to Mike. He shared many interests with Mike such as motorcycles, touring and mountain bikes, n gauge and z scale toy trains, and remote control cars.
Marvin had five cats, brothers Fritz and Felix, 20 year old Burmese-Siamese, Catarena, black long hair Inky and a Scottish fold cat Cali. Mike and Marvin both loved these cats beyond measure.
Marvin had an extensive collection of books and magazines about railroading. He enjoyed finding these treasured books at yard sales and antique stores. Too, he enjoyed railroad exhibits posting train pictures on his wall, and collecting train paraphernalia. He certainly was a train enthusiast with a hand-made and hand detailed n gauge layout in the basement that many children in the valley observed and were privileged to operate.
At times Marvin liked to push your buttons and then argue JUST to see your reaction.
A few Marvinisms that endeared him to his friends were "Give me a holler; I'll get back with ya'; hey, it don't look too bad; have a good one; Dad 'gum it, I figured you'd probably be home by now and what not, alright, bye bye."
Marvin's absolute favorite holiday was Christmas. He would love to come to a friend's house just to admire their tree and all their festive decorations. Marvin displayed two small trees in his house all year long, one in the living room and one in his own bedroom.
Marvin's health was in decline since 2019 when he was hospitalized from September-December in Denver with necrotizing fasciitis. He returned to his Paonia home never fully regaining his health. He also sorely missed his brother Mike who passed away in November, 2021. Marvin affectionately left the light on continually in Mike's bedroom.
Marvin is buried holding 20 year old Catarena.
Graveside services are Saturday, August 6, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Paonia, Larry Perkins, officiant. Luncheon following at Friends Church Fellowship Hall, 409 Third Street, Paonia, Colorado.
-Submitted by Benni Hebrew Westran and Claudia King