Steven Benevento Memorial Golf Outing Celebrates His Life
The inaugural Steven Benevento Memorial Golf Outing brought together 135 friends, family and collegues for golf and dinner at the Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit on Monday, October 19.
Benevento, a Canoe Brook member, lost his life in a tragic auto accident on September 2, 2014, at age 49.
In lieu of funeral flowers, donations were put aside. It was family friend Mike Wattick who suggested the funds go to the New Jersey State Golf Association’s Caddie Scholarship Foundation. Each year, a Canoe Brook caddie will receive a NJSGA scholarship.
Joseph Deehan, a Canoe Brook caddie who attends Penn State University at Abington, is the first recipient of the $6,000 award.
Donations came from more than 100 people, including some from as far away as England, Scotland and Japan. Benevento worked as chief investment officer at GoldPoint Partners (formerly New York Life Capital Partners) in New York, which he joined in 1995.
Those in attendance at the golf outing included Benevento’s wife, Laura, their children Sydney and Jack, parents Carol and Frank, brother Rich and his wife Angela, and their daughters Nicole and Amber. Also, father-in-law Harold Knutsen and brother-in-law Eric Knutsen were on hand.
Friends included Wattick, Steve Shunk, and Chris Alberta and co-workers Tom Haubenstricker and Michael Behuniak, among others.
More than $150,000 has been presented to the NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Foundation to honor Steven Benevento and benefit future caddies.At the event, Tom Haubenstricker, CEO of GoldPoint Partners, presented a check for $20,000, $10,000 of it donated by GoldPoint Partners and a matching check of donations from Steven's former co-workers there. Steve Shunk of Canoe Brook presented a check for $2,700 received from an auction during a Member-Guest in July.
"As an appropriate memoriam for Steven, the NJSGA has witnessed an unprecedented outpouring of respect and affection from Steven's friends, business associates and extended family," said Ed Batta, chairman of the NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Foundation. "In our 68-year history, this tribute is, by far, the single largest response to a designated scholarship. As structured, the Steven Benevento Memorial Scholarship shall continue in perpetuity, to honor Steven's life, his accomplishments, and his vision of opportunity for success through education."
“It’s interesting how things work out. Today would have been our 19th wedding anniversary,” Laura Benevento said. “We’ve received so many notes. It’s nice to put names and faces together and to be able to thank them personally. It’s also a fun day. It’s a great way to think of Steve in one of his favorite places.”
Deehan wrote a thank you note to the Benevento family upon receiving the award.
"Receiving the Steven Benevento scholarship is extremely rewarding and I am very grateful to the Benevento family and all who have so generously contributed. This is a true testement to how special of a person Mr. Benevento must have been. The scholarship is very helpful in allowing me to pursue a busniess degree at Peen State. The scholarship is a constant reminder of what hard work has gotten me and serves as motivation to realize where it can continiue to take me. I will continue to make the most of the opportunitties given to me."
Steven was proud of the hole-in-one he recorded in 2003 at The Phoenician in Arizona. He also relished the time he played at Pebble Beach.
“People who I don’t know knew me from my father. It’s nice to think these other people care enough about my father to give these donations,” said Sydney Benevento, 15, who attends Summit High School. “It makes me happy to know we can turn something bad into something positive that helps somebody else. This Christmas I wrote thank you notes to 32 people who contributed to mine and Jack’s college fund.”
Steve Benevento was an advocate of education. The Long Island native was a graduate of SUNY-Albany and earned a MBA from New York University. He was also a Chartered Financial Analyst.
“As a parent, I’m so proud of his life and all that he accomplished as a person. The last time I spoke with him, he told us my husband, Frank, to to his house in Cape May any time we wanted. He said, ‘Go enjoy.’ All of this, a day like today, is a positive for all of those who knew him, including his associates and friends. “
Sister-in-law Angela stated, “Steve was very humble. You’d never know how successful he was in his life. We’re making something positive out of something that shouldn’t have happened. We’re grateful to have had Steve as long as we had him. He was a gift.”
“This is a celebration for all the things he loved, friends, family and golf,” Laura noted. “People remember you for the kind of person you are. Think before you act, because things come around, you get back in life what you give. A thing like this gives back to Steve because he was a great individual.”
Steve’s goddaughter, Nicole, 20, is a junior at Fordham University.
“My uncle always wanted me to be more of a well-rounded person. He always asked me about school, my teachers, my grades. How I was doing. He wanted me to be someone who was well-liked. He was a role model for what he did. He would never talk about himself. That was the embodiment of who he was.”
GoldPoint Partners placed a plaque on a park bench at Madison Square Park in the Flatiron district in New York City.
The plaque reads: ”In fond memory of Steve Benevento, a great friend and colleague.” The bench is located near a Shake Shack, one of Steve’s favorite indulgences.
“Today is to celebrate that everything important to him is important to us. I’m really happy today is special to all of us as a family,” said niece Nicole, 16.
Donations for the scholarship came from the world over.
“I’ve been left speechless by the people who have been so kind to my children,” Laura stated.