Robert “Bob” Benker

Robert “Bob” Benker of Volcano, CA, passed away Friday, August 21, 2020 in Sacramento, CA. at the age of 75 years. Bob was born in Oakland, CA on May 3, 1945, a son of the late Jack and Dorothy (Swenson) Benker.

Bob was a well-known figure in Amador County and beyond.  He began his artistic career at California College of Arts & Crafts majoring in ceramics.  His art career garnered recognition in the “Feats of Clay” festival in Lincoln, CA.  His art travelled to Mexico for a showing at the Museum of Modern Art in Mazatlan, Sinaloa.    

He owned the Volcano Gallery for over 20 years featuring not only his work of art but others in the area as well.  On weekends, one would often find Bob sitting out front of his gallery talking with friends and strangers for hours on end.

Bob was one of the founding fathers of the Lockwood Fire Protection District, volunteering as Fire Chief for over 20 years.  He also owned and operated a world-renowned piano and furniture refinishing business, Benker’s Refinishing.  His talents were continually in demand.

Most of all, his laugh was unique and quite contagious.  If you knew Bob, you knew his laugh.

Robert is survived by his children, Doranna Benker Gilkey, Michelle Betz, Mark (Susan) Benker and Luke Ours; his sister, Jackie (Gary) Vaughn; also Robert’s grandchildren, Sandy (Patrick) Boyle, Sarah Benker and Sebastian Gilkey.  

A “Remembrance” will be held on Sunday, October 11, 2020 from12:00pm to 4:00pm at the Volcano Gallery.  Due to COVID-19, all will be required to wear masks, use hand-sanitizer at the door and follow social distancing.  Only small groups of 2-4 will be allowed in the Gallery at a time.  Refreshments will be served outdoors by the Lockwood Fire Auxiliary.

Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting and signing the guest book.