Samuel Bensonhaver, 70, devoted husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and brother passed away peacefully Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at his home, surrounded by family.
Sam was an avid explorer and conservationist in New Mexico's wild cave systems, as well as an ardent hiker and climber.
He had an insatiable love for the outdoors and adventure, from hiking the Grand Canyon on multiple occasions to SCUBA diving in Australia's famed Great Barrier Reef. Always a tinkerer, to anyone who knew him he was the man who could build or fix nearly anything.
Sam was very proud of his service to the United States Navy first as a sailor from 1970-76, and later as a civilian engineer with Sandia National Laboratories, supporting naval operations and "the tip of the spear."
After retirement, rather than sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet, he and his wife, Barbara, preferred adventures such as touring the South Pacific's "Ring of Fire" and the Nordic states of northern Europe and road tripping throughout the United States. His idea of relaxing was climbing a 14,000 foot peak in Colorado or SCUBA diving.
Even in the face of a terminal cancer diagnosis, he was still as active as he could be, not willing to miss out on anything if he could help it. Rather than sit back, he was apt to stay active by hiking through the foothills of Sandia Mountain or tending his peach, pear, apple, and cherry trees.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara; his sons Aaron and Derek; his granddaughters Anna and Irelynd; his brother Tim; and his niece Crystal. He was preceded in death by his parents, Earl and Ruth.
In Lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to cancer research, dementia research, or the donor's choice of environmental charities.