Friends: Benway had energy to spare
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Whether flying airplanes, sailing on open water or hunting with family and friends, Tim Benway lived life at full speed. And the 35-year-old former Vail Valley resident expected others to do the same.”He kept everybody energized,” said Larry Benway, Tim’s father, who lives in Edwards. “Even at 35, he had this boundless energy.”An experienced pilot,. Benway moved to Steamboat Springs about two years ago to work for Mountain Flight Service and the Yampa Valley Air Ambulance.”He was an excellent pilot,” said Cindy Maddox, co-owner of Steamboat-based Mountain Flight Service. “He was very demanding of himself and his co-workers.”
Benway’s attention to detail was often the subject of good-natured criticism from colleagues, friends and other pilots, Larry Benway said.”He never took anything for granted,” his father said. “There was only one way to do it, and that was by the books.”Benway, who had logged 5,000 hours as a pilot, died Tuesday evening when the Yampa Valley Air Ambulance he was flying crashed just outside of Rawlins, Wyo.An avid hunter, skier, hiker, sailor and all-around outdoorsman, Benway had a special effect on those who knew him. Two such people are John and Jay Hanley, Steamboat residents who met Benway shortly after he moved to the Yampa Valley.
“He’d push you to live and enjoy your life, which is rare,” John Hanley said Thursday from The Smokehouse, where a group of local pilots gathered to remember Benway. “Most times people don’t have enough energy for themselves. He had enough energy for everyone.”Benway grew up in and around Vail. After graduating from Vail Mountain School in 1987, Benway attended Fort Lewis College in Durango. His desire to fly airplanes took off shortly thereafter. Benway especially loved flying in the mountains.”It was something he was very good at,” his father said. “He understood the mountains.”But his talents extended well beyond the cockpit. “He was the type of person who did everything and did everything well,” Jay Hanley said.
Benway was eager to share his knowledge with others, and he always was willing to lend a helping hand. “He wanted to have a purpose in society and this community,” John Hanley said. His sense of humor and ever-present smile made him someone people liked spending time with. “He was the kind of guy you enjoyed being around,” Steamboat resident Bo DelValle said. “We’re going to miss him dearly.”