Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
Benny Rasnic, age 87, of Norman, Oklahoma and formerly of Altus, Oklahoma, passed away on Sunday, September 10, 2023 surrounded by his loving family. He was born to Emmett Jackson and Edith (Anthony) Rasnic in Spring Creek, Oklahoma near Gracemont on October 8, 1935. He was the second of eight children, growing up as part of a peanut farming family.
Benny graduated from Gracemont High School in 1953. After graduation, he moved to Wichita Falls, Texas where he studied electronics at Draughn’s Business School and worked part-time at Luby’s Cafeteria. He was drafted into the United States Army and served for two years in the 249th Signal Corp. at Ft. Gordon, Georgia. He returned to Wichita Falls after being released from the Army in February 1961 but was recalled to active duty in November 1961, eventually returning to Wichita Falls in August, 1962.
While working at Luby’s in Wichita Falls, Benny met the love of his life, Chloma Jean Anderson and they married on October 10, 1961. Benny was sent to Ft. Polk, Louisiana as Jean finished the fall semester of college at Midwestern University and then joined Benny at Ft. Polk in December, 1961. After serving for nine months at Ft. Polk, Benny and Jean moved back to Wichita Falls. Benny returned to Luby’s and became an assistant manager. In April of 1968, they moved to Altus, Oklahoma and Benny opened Phideaux’s Pizza as the owner and manager. The name of the restaurant was changed to Benny’s Mexican Food and Pizza in 1984 and Benny operated the restaurant until he retired in 1994.
Benny set a great example for his family and friends as a successful restaurant owner and businessman and his life was filled with hard work and integrity as he enjoyed being a member of the Altus community and connecting with so many of his loyal customers, employees, and friends. He was always willing to help support the local high schools and the community in a significant way and was well respected in the business community.
Since retirement in 1994, Benny enjoyed traveling with Jean and spending the summers in the cool San Juan mountains near Durango, Colorado. Benny fished almost every day while Jean sewed. They participated in many craft shows where Benny would help set up and support Jean’s booth display of clothes she had made. They loved hosting fish fry and Benny’s Mexican food dinners and gathering with friends at the Blue Spruce Park north of Bayfield, Colorado, sharing good stories and much laughter. Benny has always enjoyed growing a garden and he would take fresh vegetables from his garden to his restaurant in Altus for everyone to enjoy. He continued his garden interest once they moved to Norman and was well-known to share vegetables and peaches with family and neighbors. His favorite plant to grow became his beautiful, tall sunflowers that towered above the house. He was also an avid OU sports fan and he and Jean enjoyed many OU football games in person and have watched all the sports from their living room for many years.
Benny and Jean sold their beloved home northeast of Altus which they built in 1972 as the family home and moved to Norman, Oklahoma in 2014 to be closer to their three grandchildren who Benny loved so well. He loved to tell stories about his grandchildren as he and Jean were a constant presence at their sporting, musical, and school events. It would not take long for Benny to share a story or two about Meredith, Ryan, or Reid if you came to visit. He often shared his deep sense of love for his grandchildren and his family in a special way and the feeling about Papa Benny was indeed mutual. He was known as an excellent businessman and a wonderful cook with his specialty being a tasty steak from his backyard grill. Always the handyman ready to fix anything, he spent many days repairing or renovating machines or spaces at the restaurant, in his home garage, or at one of his children’s homes or apartments.
Benny is survived by his devoted wife of 61 years, Chloma Jean Rasnic, his daughter, Jennifer Rasnic Reeves and husband, Steve of Pearland, Texas, and his son, Tim Rasnic and wife Janis of Norman, Oklahoma. He is also survived by his three grandchildren, Meredith McClure and husband Harrison, and Ryan Rasnic all of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Reid Rasnic of Norman, Oklahoma. Additional survivors include his siblings Earlene Davis, Bill Rasnic (Sandee), Mary Oliver (Doyle), Marie Powell (Frank), and his brother-in-law, Terry Fesler. He is preceded in death by his parents, his sisters Emmelene Eaton (Larry), and Ilene Fesler, his brother Jack Rasnic, Jr., and his brother-in-law, Tom Davis. He leaves behind numerous relatives and close friends from the Altus and Norman communities. Benny lived life well and was abundantly blessed by family and friends whom he enjoyed throughout his life.
Funeral services will be held Friday, September 15 at 10:00am at the Southgate Baptist Church in Moore, Oklahoma with internment following at Evergreen Cemetery in Minco, Oklahoma. Visitation will take place on Thursday, September 14 from 10:00am – 7:00pm at John Ireland Funeral Home in Moore, Oklahoma. Family will receive visitors from 5:00 – 7:00pm.