Columbus, OH — Benney Lee Haller, 74, died peacefully at home Jan. 1, 2019, following an extended battle with interstitial lung disease and lung cancer.
He was born July 7, 1944, in Columbus, Ohio, to the late Merle W. and Betty Ann (Skatzes-Cross) Haller. On Aug. 28, 1965, he married his best friend, Margaret M. Schaeffing, who survives.
In addition to his wife, Peg, he is survived by their children, Michael (Carol), Dr. Patricia (Bradley Smith), Nettina “Tina”, and Matthew (Jill); grandchildren, Andrea, Benjamin, Nick, Daniel, Bradyn Smith, Meryl and Vincent; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and special friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; stepfather, Robert Vogelgesang; brother, H. Timothy; and sister, Terryanne.
Mr. Haller was a graduate of Mendon Union High School, Class of 1962. Upon graduating from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science in 1963, he managed funeral homes in Coshocton and Canton, Ohio. At the age of 27, with three children under the age of 5, he and Peg made a bold decision to buy the former Heiby Memorial Home located on S. Paint St. in Chillicothe on Nov. 1, 1971. They would later realize a life-long dream to give back to the community that had supported them so graciously by building an entirely new funeral home at its current location on Western Avenue.
Among his many accomplishments and contributions to his community, he was a founding member of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Woody Hayes Sports Spectacular, founding member of the Ducks Unlimited Scioto Valley Chapter, past president of Jaycees, past member and Paul Harris Fellow of Chillicothe Noon Rotary, Ross Co. Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year, and Mercator Club Man of the Year. He was also a member of St. Mary Catholic Church and the Chillicothe Country Club.
Besides his tremendous sense of humor and wit, many will remember him for his passion of Standardbred race horses, playing golf, hunting and fishing, and playing cards. He was happiest when surrounded with people, be it family, friends or consoling a family. His legacy will live on in the many hearts and lives he touched.
The family is most appreciative of the care and compassion shown by Adena Hospice staff, caregiver Jamie Maddy and Dr. John Seidensticker, who together made sure he was able to be at home with family and comfortable.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Monday (Jan. 7) at St. Mary Catholic Church, Rev. Lawrence Hummer, Celebrant. Burial will follow in Grandview Cemetery. Friends may call Sunday (Jan. 6) from 2-6 p.m. at his funeral home, where a wake service will be held at 6 p.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to Bishop Flaget School Endowment Fund, c/o The Catholic Foundation, 257 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215.