Mario A. Benitez, age 89, Professor Emeritus, The University of Texas at Austin, passed away on August 23, 2015. He is survived by his wife Carolyn, sons Anthony Benitez (Sandy) of San Marcos, Kenneth Benitez (Dani) of Dover, Delaware, daughter Victoria Benitez of Austin, and step-daughter Diana Wiley (Sam) of San Marcos, twelve grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren. He is survived by two sisters, Marta Tamayo Lewin and Ernestina Saladrigas, both of Miami, Florida, and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Lydia Benitez Williams and his step-son, Mitchell Wade.
"I am a teacher," Dr. Benitez answered when asked what he wanted to be known for. Mario was a Professor of Education at UT Austin. He received degrees from Texas Wesleyan University and Texas Christian University, La Universidad de Comillas (Spain) and doctorates from La Universidad de la Habana and Claremont Graduate School. He was Chair, Department of Modern Languages, the Academic Dean at TAMUK, Director, Multicultural Studies at UTSA, and Chair, Department of Curriculum and Instruction at UT Austin. He won seventeen teaching awards at three different universities, including the Robert Foster Cherry Chair in Distinguished Teaching at Baylor University in 1998. He was a founding member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at UT Austin. He was instrumental in establishing the first doctoral program in Bilingual Education at TAMUK Kingsville in 1974.
There will be a memorial service at San Marcos First United Methodist Church, on August 27th, 2015, at 10:00 AM.
In lieu of flowers, a contribution to one of the following charities is most appreciated: Central Texas Medical Center Hospice; The Stephen Ministry, San Marcos First United Methodist Church; or the Alzheimer's Unit of the Hays Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center. Funeral arrangements entrusted to Thomason Funeral Home, 512-396-2300.