Allegan County News & Union Enterprise

Obituary: Benny LeRoy Koteras

Benny LeRoy Koteras, 75, of Allegan, passed away on Saturday, November 20, 2021 at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo, MI. He was born in Allegan on December 16, 1945, son of the late Bernard and Iva Koteras. He grew up on Miner Lake on the farm with his father. They raised pigs, chickens, and geese, and had draft horses and would take them to the fair parades. Benny started school in 1951 at the Mapleview, one room schoolhouse, just a mile down the road from his home. His father occasionally took his pony to school, and gave the kids pony rides, and Benny would ride it home. He went through the sixth grade at Mapleview, and then in 1958 he went to the Blessed Sacrament School in town for his seventh and eighth grades. He then continued on to the ninth grade at the Allegan Junior High, and graduated in the class of 1964 at the Allegan Senior High. He wanted to play football while in high school, but his father needed him on the farm. Right out of high school he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in June of 1964 during the Vietnam War. He was sent to the Naval Reserve Manpower Center in Bainbridge, MD, and then transferred to NAS, in Alameda, CA where he was assigned to the USS Paricutin (AE-18) and was sent to the South Pacific. This ship was a Mount-Hood class ammunitions and special operations ship. Benny’s rank was an ordnanceman (gunman). In 1966 he was honorably discharged. After returning home he decided to attend college. In 1967 he went to Ferris State University for four years, and received a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He worked various jobs, one of them being a finance manager in Battle Creek. He also worked at Baker Furniture in Holland for over thirty years.
In 1970 his father passed away at the farm, and Benny remained living the rest of his life on the farm in his childhood home. In 1977 he purchased an 84 acre farm in Trowbridge Township where he grew corn, soybeans and wheat, which he was still farming at the time of his death. Benny endured many hardships in life including two house fires and losing a leg to diabetes. He loved the outdoors, and fishing and hunting when he could, and driving around the countryside to auctions and stopping at roadside fruit and vegetable stands. He loved watching all the old westerns “Gunsmoke”, “Wells Fargo†, and many others, including football and wrestling.
Benny was a big man with a big and caring heart for children, especially the sick and disabled ones. Benny never married, and didn’t have any children of his own. He always had the biggest bear hugs. Per Benny’s wishes the proceeds of his Estate were to go to St. Jude’s, Shriner’s, and Boys Town.
He was preceded in death by a brother, Mike Brokus. He leaves behind a brother, John Brokus, many long time caring friends, and some close neighbors who shared their friendship, and companions, Deanna and Sadie, his little faithful dog. We miss the many rides together and all the places we used to go – most of all, his loving and thoughtful companionship.
Not sure if he had a “bucket list”, but if he did, he crossed one off, as he wanted to keep farming until he was 75, even though his health was failing. He made it! Everyone’s journey is different.
Benny was cremated and a few of his ashes will be sprinkled on both of his farms. Inurnment will take place in Hudson Corners Cemetery next to his father sometime this summer. In the end, it’s not the money or your possessions, it’s about the family and friends that you loved, and that loved you, that makes you rich.

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