Trustees Honor Roll

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Rathbone, Benzy

Accordionist, Bandleader (1951-2003)

Benjamin Zitko Rathbone, better known as Benzy, was a shooting star on the polka horizon, whose light was extinguished at too early an age. He was invited at an early age to sit-in to play the accordion with Frankie Yankovic and his orchestra in Benzy's hometown of Washington, Pennsylvania. Benzy ws the accordion lead for many orchestras, including his combo, Jack Frohnhoffer's orchestra, and Jack Tady's orchestra. In 1995, the Benzy Rathbone Combo was honored as Best New/Young Band by the National Cleveland-Style Hall of Fame. Benzy did not attend, because he suffered a stroke on the eve of the Award ceremony. He was able to continue in music as organist and choir director of Holy Rosary Church. Benzy played the button accordion as well and created a number system to to play the diatonic keyboard. Benzy had recorded one album, and had completed half of the material for a second album. On March 18, 2003, he died. He is survived by his wife Lori, and daughters Jessica and Emily.

November 29, 2003

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