The John Benske
Patient Advocacy Program
I was remembering when I took you shopping to Boston Store when you were very little. You walked over to a mannequin and somehow toppled the whole display over. Thank God you were alright and so awfully cute that all the clerks were charmed by you! You have always been so good humored, smart, and loving. Full of love and unselfishness. A heart of gold Gigi would call it. I've been proud of you your whole life, from singing the ABC song to graduating from law school to becoming the best Father and Nephew!
To think you had to battle the worst type of cancer and then personal heartbreaks at the same time is a mystery on how you do it. Yet you do it with so much strength, perseverance, dignity, and love. YOU are filled with love and you always have been! You make the people around you happy. How proud I am to be your Aunt! How lucky I am. The day you were born I was in typing class and a note came from the office. Sister Electra, Old Purple Lips, walked up to me and read "Your sister has given birth to a baby boy! My eyes filled with tears of joy and I didn't even know the level of joy you were to bring to me, to your parents to all of us.
I love you so deeply, I always will.
_Your very proud Aunt Betty
I worked with John for a short time while he was in the State Government Affairs group at Amgen. We worked together on biosimilar substitution legislation in Minnesota and Nebraska. John always made an impression on me because of his calm demeanor and his sense of peace with where he was and what he was doing. One particular moment with John made a lasting impact on my life.
We were in Minnesota about to head to the State Capital. We were in the hotel waiting and I saw John walking down this long hallway, maybe 100 yards long. We were all standing there waiting, but John was walking at a leisurely pace, taking his time. When he arrive to the meeting point, I joked with him about stepping it up, and he remarked that if you rush through life and don't live in the moment sometimes, that you miss out on so many things. We then got into an in depth discussion about meditation and mindfulness and how John had studied these techniques extensively and seen huge impacts on his life.
This encouraged me to start doing the same, and John and I exchanged text messages for months as he helped coach me through how to live in the moment more and to appreciate the time I was given. It truly changed my outlook on life, and has impacted me in both good and bad times, while helping me to be more at peace with myself and how I live my life. John will be missed. He was a kind, thoughtful, and engaging man, and has made huge impacts on the lives of people around him. I am very thankful to have known him.
_John B. Jordan
Many years ago my first formal interaction with John was a meeting he set up for me with then Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. He gave me a comprehensive and thoughtful written background briefing in writing and orally.
I was impressed. He was smart, knowledgeable and had a insight on how to distill things to their essence.
We met with Scott Walker and he was underwhelming. All I could think was John would make a better Governor. From that point on I had complete confidence in John, his judgment and skills.
I am deeply saddened by the news about John's health. He has been an exemplar of a life well lived and full of love and caring for others.
So saddened to hear about Benske’s disposition. He has been a trusted friend, valued and effective colleague, devoted husband and undoubtedly father (I knew John well pre-children) and friend.
John is the guy who can be credited most with Wisconsin becoming one of the first states to empower pharmacists with authority to immunize. He built a coalition of stakeholders, including the State Medical Society and the Wisconsin Nurses Association, to literally introduce legislation which, for all practical purposes, is widely regarded as a success to the profession of pharmacy and public health. John was perfect for this task as his demeanor and professionalism was tantamount to rallying a huge amount of momentum toward what could have been a tepid profession.
John has a quick wit and calm way of convincing colleagues and potential adversaries to see the world as he does. I know I join many in wishing John well as he tackles this difficult journey.
_Scott Whitmore, RPh, MBA
Principal and Director, Clinical Services
On at least two Disney World trips we ran into the Benske family and all four of their boys! You saw and heard a dad who was very proud of his sons and all they were accomplishing in sports, academics and extracurriculars. Family time was treated with high importance.
I’ve never worked with a better dressed guy than John! (Sorry, Scott!) He was a self-proclaimed fashion shopaholic and prided himself in finding a new suit complete with pocket handkerchief and well-polished shoes. He knew the look was the first impression he had walking into a legislator’s office and it had to be great.
Finally, John also planned and orchestrated the first health screening fair in 1998 or 1999 at the state capitol that showcased pharmacist services. I remember him hovering over our cholesterol screening station and beaming at the sight of the chair of the Senate health committee sitting in front of me getting his finger prodded for a small capillary tube of blood for the test. John was always the first to credit everyone else for the many accomplishments he had as the WPhA/PSW Director of Government Affairs.
Very much saddened to hear the update on Benske's condition. I've seen the attached picture for a few weeks now at PSW and have been thinking about him. I'm certain he is a celebrity amongst haberdasheries and the best thing to ever happen to a pair of suspenders. Although I may not live up to the standards, I won't forget the smile that lights up a room educating me on the importance of a good looking pair of shoes.
Sending lots of love and strength his way!!!!
Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin
Hope you are doing well. I am really sorry to hear the latest about John’s fight. I wanted to share a couple memories with you per your text.
First, I remember John taking the time to meet me in Chicago for dinner at Lowry’s for a steak during a policy engagement. We talked a lot about our spouses and how grateful we were for their positive influence on our lives. We talked about how much we cared about the country we lived in, as it had an outsize impact on our kids’ future. John is such a committed spouse and father.
Later, we learned we had a shared love of history. We went out to the Biograph Theater to see the site where John Dillinger was killed by the FBI in 1934. Later, in Springfield, IL we stopped before testimony in the legislature to see Abraham Lincoln’s law offices and library. We got up early the next morning in the pouring rain to visit Lincoln’s grave reflecting on his leadership and the origins of his principles. John taught me why Illinois placed it’s capital so far from Chicago - to keep it far from corruption.
John knows his profession exceptionally well; he taught me a lot about the value of building a team with years of shared history. We met as a group he assembled to tackle misinformation about our proposed legislation in Illinois. Among the members were a list of the governor’s trusted advisors and co-workers from years past. They asked tough questions - we had clear answers and data. In the end we made great progress.
I think the world of John as a man and as a professional. Please pass along all our best to John and his family. We all wish them the very best, for peace and that they know how much we respect him and hold them all in our thoughts at this time.
All the best,
To post your own tribute about John here, please email us at ICANCancerPrograms@askican.org and we will post it within 24 hours. Please include your phone number.
The John Benske Patient Advocacy Program
is a vital part of ICAN's Cancer Patient Advocacy and Clinical Trials Program Advocacy Services.
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Federal Tax I.D.: EIN 86-0818253 | WA Charities: 37195