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Benko remembered with packed memorial

A standing room only crowd came out to the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum to remember Fred Benko, a longtime and beloved figure in the waterfront community.

Benko died just over a week ago.

For years, he and his crew have led daily whale watching trips in the Santa Barbara Channel. They show both local residents and tourists some of the amazing marine life in the Santa Barbara Channel including whales, dolphins and sea lions.

Benko’s family and friends recalled stories from his youth through his most recent accomplishments, past times, and community interests.

Captain Mat Curto of the Condor Express read a quote that he said summed up Benko saying, “I don’t want my life to be defined by what is etched on a tombstone. I want my life to be defined on what is etched on the hearts of those I touched. And he touched lives and hearts.”

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