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Posted on January 25, 2014 | 10:35 a.m.

Benigno ‘Bennie’ Esparza of Santa Barbara, 1936-2014

Source: Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels

Benigno Esparza of Santa Barbara, California, died January 20, 2014. He was 77.

After a long career at Santa Barbara Research Center, Bennie Esparza retired to pursue his dream of running his own machine shop.
After a long career at Santa Barbara Research Center, Bennie Esparza retired to pursue his dream of running his own machine shop.

Bennie was born on May 16, 1936, in Santa Barbara to Ysidro Esparza and Teresa (Urzua) Esparza. He grew up on Matthews Street in Goleta, surrounded by a large, loving and full-of-life family. He spent his youth working with his Dad and brothers, and having fun at Goleta Beach. Bennie attended Goleta Union School, and later Santa Barbara High School.

Bennie’s career was full, accomplished and an integral part of his life. He started out as a machinist, later becoming an accomplished tool designer and engineer. After spending 22 years at Santa Barbara Research Center (a subsidiary of Hughes Aircraft), he retired to pursue the dream of running his own machine shop. The respect of his peers and the long-lasting friendships that resulted from his long career were some of the most cherished parts of his life.

Throughout his life, Bennie enjoyed basketball, tennis, jogging, riding his bike, sailing with his brother, Sid, playing his guitar and music. And always, there was Family.

He was preceded in death by his father and mother, several of his brothers, and a grandson.

Bennie was a son, brother, uncle, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, and is survived by his five children: Ben Esparza, Ann Lynette Winton, Jeff Esparza, Michelle Weeks and Ken Esparza; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; his surviving siblings: brothers Tony Esparza, Louis Esparza, Pasqual Esparza, David Esparza, and his sister, Lupe Casarez; as well as many nieces and nephews.

Bennie was married twice, once to Diane Cruz and then to Donna Esparza (Ortega).

A gathering will held at noon Sunday, January 26, 2014, at Goleta Beach Park, 5986 Sandspit Road, to remember Bennie. Friends and Family are invited to come share their memories and love of Bennie.

Arrangements were by Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels.

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