In loving memory of Russ Benger

Bombay Sapphire on the Shangri-la's 58th FloorMy good friend Russ Benger passed away a couple of days ago, and it breaks my heart that I am so many thousand kilometres away from Vancouver to have even had the opportunity to spend any more time with him, to say goodbye, to celebrate his life and to be able to support my good friend Gus Fosarolli, Russ’ life partner. Gus and Russ have been part of my life ever since I started blogging (in 2006). They celebrated my accomplishments. They comforted me when I was down. They were always there for me. They have been, and always will be, part of my family.

I actually can’t recall a day of my life in Vancouver, from 2006 to 2012, when Russ and Guss weren’t there. They were there for my birthdays, my social events, but also my important life milestones.

Canadian Thanksgiving Dinner with Russ and Gus

To pick me up from the airport, whenever I would return to Vancouver from a trip. They took me for dinner when I completed my second Blogathon.

Dinner at Capone's

Russ was always fond of Mexico, and he was also very fond of my mother, and I am grateful that he got to spend some time with her and me while she visited me every summer in Vancouver.

Russ, my Mom and myself

Russ, my Mom and I in Vancouver, outside my house, circa 2010

So many memories of my life in Vancouver are marked by Russ’ friendship, laughter, cooking abilities, martini-making prowess. But more than anything, I remember Russ as one of my closest confidantes, someone who mentored me and suggested ways in which I could approach life. Whenever I would feel down, Russ and Gus would call me over and invite me for dinner. Our brunches at Crave on Main Street were a staple of my weekends.

Dinner at Gus and Russ with Cathy

Russ, Gus and Cathy Browne at Thanksgiving

Russ and Gus made wonderful celebrations of my family-less Christmases, in fact instituting themselves into my Vancouver family. Russ was the epitome of a loyal friend. He would take his time to get to know someone, but once you got into his inner circle, you were in there for life.

Hummingbird604.com's 5 Year Blogiversary Party

My good friends Jay Catalan and Erica Hargreave with Guss, Russ and me at my blog’s anniversary party

The last time I got to see Russ (luckily, this year), he came down to Aguascalientes to spend some time learning Spanish (his passion for, and abilities with languages) and also to visit me. He got to see my recent accomplishments first hand, and he celebrated my success in person.

I will miss you, my dear friend. I love you.

Bombay Sapphire on the Shangri-La's 58th Floor

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Comments (4)

raincoasterMay 30th, 2014 at 11:38 pm

What a beautiful tribute, Raul! Russ was an unforgettable man, and a big part of him was his natural ability to know what and WHO was worth knowing. It was an honour to be included in his circle. You’ve expressed better than anyone what it was like to be Russ’s friend. He was truly a special man.

Pam DruckerMay 31st, 2014 at 10:47 am

Beautifully expressed sentiment. Condolences to you and Gus and the blogging family you nurtured.

GusFJune 1st, 2014 at 7:18 am

Thank you so much Raul for this lovely tribute.

Russ was a truly special man who brought joy to all those that called him friend. He lived life to the fullest and always had a positive attitude. I will miss him dearly, but I do know that he is in a better place now and no longer has to worry about his health.

We will never forget you Russ. You are in our hearts forever!

Much LOVE!

laurelJune 2nd, 2014 at 6:00 am

Sorry for the loss of your friend, very hard to loose someone you care and love and appreciate.

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